Although it should have occurred during the Clinton Administration, past WBO middleweight and super middleweight titlist "The Celtic Warrior" Steve Collins plans to soon return to the squared circle after a nearly 16 year hiatus to fight shopworn legend Roy Jones Jr.
The grayed Collins (36-3, 21 KOs), born in Dublin, Ireland, last threw fists professionally in a third round TKO victory over Craig Cummings in July 1997 in Glasgow.
“We’re just waiting for an offer that appeals to him and is acceptable, and then hopefully then we can announce who, where and when,” said Collins, 48. “I’ve started training for it. We’ve had a strong interest out in the Middle East. South Africa has come on board. There could be Russian interest as well. It’s going to happen, it’s a case of where and when. There’s a vacant title too we can fight for, which has been accepted. I’m really up for this fight, I’m very excited. I wanted this to happen 15 years ago, and I never got it. How could I refuse it? The desire’s there.”
Somewhat thankfully, albeit surely a lie, Collins promises to not scrap without medical approval.
“If the medical’s not 100 percent, there’s no doubt I won’t do it,” said Collins. “There’s nothing more important than my health.”
Meanwhile, Jones (56-8, 40 KOs), who became the first erstwhile middleweight champion to capture a heavyweight belt in more than 100 years by outclassing Metheun’s John Ruiz to earn a unanimous decision in March 2003, has suffered brutal knockouts in recent years and amassed a substandard 7-7 record over his past 14 paydays.
The 44-year-old Jones, the 1990s “Fighter of the Decade” who has collected world crowns in four weight classes, most recently exited the ring with a split decision triumph against Paweł Głażewski last June in Poland.
Ed LaVache is the owner of the Boston Boxing Club in Allston.
LaVache contends Jones still battles strictly for monetary reasons and has concerns the exhausted great is jeopardizing his health.
“For a lot of these guys, boxing is all they know and it’s the only way for them to make money,” said LaVache. “So, they keep fighting until the fight is lost in them.”
Absolutely spent as professional athletes, Jones and Collins are near tussling because “it’s the only way for them to make money.”