Bunce on Boxing: Roy Jones and Steve Collins agree to stage another freak show

 

Roy Jones was the world's best boxer in 1999 when Steve Collins wrecked his victory celebrations and climbed through the ropes and challenged him to a fight.

"He ran like a child," remembered Collins. "I knew that he was not interested and would never be interested in giving me the fight that would get me back in the ring."

It was in Florida where Collins issued his challenge. Just seconds earlier Jones had knocked out Richard Frazier in two, one-sided rounds; Jones was fighting at light-heavyweight at that time and would move through the weights, winning a legitimate portion of the world heavyweight title in 2003, and he is still fighting now.

A few months ago a throwaway comment by Collins, the type that fighters throw like lazy jabs, upset Jones. It was nothing too outrageous but, after a bit of mischief online, the quote by Collins led to the pair speaking over the phone. The phone call led to the two fighters agreeing terms, including a split for the money, and it now looks like they will finally fight. "I said a couple of things about Roy being scared of me. It got him a bit annoyed, we spoke and now there will be a fight. I clearly said the right thing," said Collins, who was renowned for his ability to upset his opponents in the days and weeks before fights.

Collins, who is 48 and has not fought since the summer of 1997, retired as WBO super-middleweight champion. "I had been asking for Jones to fight me for years – we were the last two left at the weight. He had beaten all the Americans and I had taken care of all the Europeans [Collins beat Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn twice in world title fights]. I had to go and confront him in the end."

Jones has fought 29 times since Collins last did but it has not been an endless line of glory and now, at 44, he can look back on a decade spent flitting in and out of a boxing twilight zone of denial. There are too many images of Jones out cold or taking a beating in recent years. If Collins was not on the horizon, Jones would still be fighting.

If Jones was not still fighting then Collins insists that he would simply be enjoying life. This is not strictly about the money. "It's not a comeback, I don't have to fight again," insisted Collins, who has been in the gym hitting things since before Christmas. "This is just about me getting the only fight I ever wanted – I get Jones and I will knock him out now like I would have done 17 years ago. I told him that, he was not very happy."

Last year there was the disturbing image of Ricky Hatton collapsing in a comeback fight after just three years out of the boxing ring. Dozens of other fighters train hard, suck in their bellies and give it another go after breaks of between three and 15 years. It can end in pain, like Hatton, or just in frustration that the timing and desire are sadly no longer working in tandem.

The Collins and Jones fight could be different and would certainly be an event wherever it ends up. Dubai and South Africa remain favourite destinations for the ultimate "unfinished business" fight, but Malta and Ireland could come in with late offers.

Jones has been active but has looked far too vulnerable and easy to hit in the last few years. Collins has everything to gain and, win or lose, he will still be remembered for the Eubank and Benn wins. There will be full medical tests for Collins, including MRI scans, and when he gets his licence, which he will, the fight will take place and it will not be the biggest freak show of 2013.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice