Nigel Benn and Steve Collins are apparently in talks to have a rubber match, 21 years after they last shared a ring together.
In their first encounter in July 1996, Benn, 53, was unable to continue in the 4th round due to an ankle injury. In the rematch in November that year, Collins triumphed again to defend his WBO super-middleweight title when he forced Benn to retire on his stool midway through the contest at the manchester Arena.
The common consensus then was that ‘The Dark Destroyer’ was at the end of his career and had gone to the well one too many times. They were the last two fights of Benn’s career and he sailed off into the sunset to Australia leaving behind one of the finest legacies in British boxing history. Continued below…
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Collins, 52, retired a year after the rematch with Benn having had two more successful world title defences. The Dublin-born, ‘Celtic Warrior’ who won world titles in two different weight categories, now owns and runs a working farm in Hertfordshire since retiring retiring from the sport.
There are stranger things that have happened and are happening in boxing, but Benn vs Collins III would have many scratching their heads as to why? The purists and defenders of the sport will appose, suggest the health implications of two 50-odd year olds battling two decades after they last laced up the 10oz gloves, but ironically all would probably watch it, abiet through frustrated stiffened fingers.
Lets make no bones about it, these two are respected institutions in the game and seem to get on well and have each others respect. They have joked about sharing the ring again in the past but despite their good humour, both now seem serious about fighting each other for a third time. Collins admitting his decision to box again is purely financial and denies the pair are putting their health at risk.
“It’s very dangerous… for Nigel,” Collins joked to the BBC.
He added: “I had an MRI recently and the neurosurgeon was very pleased with how it was. I’ve more or less been preparing myself for 20 years for the Roy Jones fight so I’m ready.
“Of course I will knock him out again. But Nigel looks in better shape than when I fought him years ago.
“It’s just about money, a payday which will allow me to buy some more land for my horses and sheep. If the money’s right I’ll have it again.
“I have no problem for Nigel. I have a lot of respect. I like him.”
Benn will be watching his son Conor (6-0, 4 KOs) in action at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday and has recently been living in Australia.
“It’s about the final chapter, it’s about closure,” Londoner Benn told the BBC.
“I was going backwards and forwards with Chris [Eubank] and I thought, ‘I wouldn’t have a problem with Steve’. So I asked him if he wants to fight. He said ‘yes’. No mucking about.”
Benn claimed to feel like Benjamin Button, the F Scott Fitzgerald character who becomes younger in appearance as he gets older.
“I am Nigel ‘Benjamin Button’ Benn. I feel like I am in my thirties,” he said.
Both boxers also now have sons who are now professional boxers.
Collins son, Steve Jr (10-1-1, 4 KOs), tweeted on Thursday: “When I’m 50 something and have a midlife crises, I will just buy a new motor bike. You get me.”
Benn had a three-year reign as WBC super-middleweight champion (1992-1995) with epic encounters against the likes Chris Eubank and Gerald McClellan. He also beat Doug DeWitt and Iran Barkey in WBO world middleweight title fights in America.
Collins turned professional in America and also held world titles at middleweight and super-middleweight. He beat Chris Pyatt for the WBO middleweight belt in 1994 before two points wins over Eubank a year later. He was linked to a fight against Roy Jones in 2013.
The British Boxing Board of Control would unlikely sanction the fight to take place under their body, but that may not stop it from happening as an unlicensed event with October or November the proposed dates being mentioned.
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Third fight between Steve Collins and Nigel Benn ‘unlikely’ says BBBofC
Robert Smith, the general secretary of the BBBofC, insisted there was no maximum age limit for a fighter but told Press Association Sport: “You’re talking about two gentlemen who haven’t boxed for donkey’s years, but there’s nothing for us to consider at the moment.
“The only age limit we have is you’ve got to be over 18. However, the older you get, the more unlikely it is you’re going to be granted a licence. We haven’t had any applications from Nigel Benn or Steve Collins for a boxer’s licence.
“We’re aware they haven’t boxed for a considerable amount of time, and if we do receive such applications we will have to consider all these matters.
“I’ve not spoken to any promoters. Two weeks ago I had a phone call advising me this was being looked at, but I’ve not received anything from anyone wanting to put it on. I’d be very surprised if any promoter wanted it.
“Anybody can apply for a licence. We’d have to do our job properly and consider any application: whether it gets any further than that consideration I can’t tell you.”