Classic Irish Boxing May 2003
Former two-time W.B.O. world champion Steve Collins has admitted that the urge to fight has left him considering an unlikely comeback. The Dubliner who will turn 40 in July hasn’t fought since July of 1997 after retiring as undefeated W.B.O. super middleweight champion. Collins was in Spain last week along with Wayne McCullough to film a new series of Superstars for the B.B.C. Despite his six year absence from the ring Collins had revealed that training for the programme (to be broadcast in July) had rekindled his passion for the sport.
In an interview with Gerry Ryan screened on R.T.E. last week Collins admitted that a return to the ring could be on the cards. The half hour programme showed brief clips of Collins sparring with his brother (and former pro) Pascal. When asked about the rumours of a comeback Collins said, “I haven’t boxed for six years but I still have it” before accepting that a return would only be financially rewarding if he “proved he still had it and built myself up again”.
Collins decision to hang up his gloves in 1997 was the result of fruitless attempts to entice then fellow super middleweight titleholder Roy Jones Jr. in to the squared circle. Despite Collins gate crashing a Jones post fight T.V. interview the Florida superstar and current W.B.A. heavyweight champion wasn’t interested in meeting the “Celtic Warrior”. Frustrated at not being able to secure the fight he craved Collins called it a day.
Collins tried once again to force the fight in 1999 but abandoned the idea after collapsing in sparring during preparations for his comeback bout. The Cabra man had resumed training in London with Jimmy Tibbs but an innocuous looking punch from current European middleweight champ Howard Eastman in sparring caused Collins to collapse. A subsequent brain scan revealed hardened scar tissue on the brain and doctors advised Collins to stay retired.
While Collins would have to pass further brain scans before being allowed to embark on a comeback the Dubliner is confident that he could return to the highest level. “I know I could do it and what appeals to me about it is that it’s against all the advice of the people who say ‘don’t come back, you finished at the top, retired a champion and never took a beating. You can only go down’, but winning the world title was against the odds and me coming back and becoming world champion again would be unheard.”