Steve Collins set to return to the ring for charity bout
Former world champion Steve Collins is going back in the ring. Just weeks before his fiftieth birthday.
The Celtic Warrior is scheduled to face former British middleweight champion Neville Brown in a four round charity bout in Burton-on-Trent on July 6.
The pair met once before. Their first fight, in Millstreet in March 1996, saw Collins defend his WBO super middleweight title for the third time. The Dubliner stopped Brown in the eleventh round and went on to successfully defend his belt in four more fights before retiring in July 1997.
"There isn't a world title at stake in July," says his brother Paschal Collins. "But Steve knows he needs to sharpen up before meeting Neville again. So, as well as training in London, he'll be putting in work with me in Dublin. He'll be sparring with Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan and Luke Keeler. We're going to make him work."
Neville Brown, who retired from the ring in 2000 with a record of 32-8 with 25 KOs, is a boxing and fitness instructor and life coach.
"When the offer of this fight came up, I said, "Hell, yes," enthuses Neville Brown. "That title fight I had with Steve in Ireland really made me. I took it as short notice and even though I lost the bout, I earned respect and recognition around the world. A couple of charities will benefit from this. I'm hoping it will drum up awareness of men's health. I've been to too many funerals lately, especially among the West Indies community.
A lot of men in seem to give up on their health and fitness when they hit a certain age. We get hit every day. Not physically as in boxing but just through life's setbacks."
Worrying about how a shoulder injury from last year might respond to the pressure, Brown adds, "Boxing got me ready for life. If myself and Steve can show people that even at our age we can still make a huge effort and not give up then maybe it'll do some good come."
News of the Collins-Brown charity re- match coincides with the remarkable challenge of boxing's oldest ever world champion Bernard Hopkins who says, "It's time to make more history" as he sets out to unify the light-heavyweight division in Washington on Saturday night.
49-year old Hopkins was beaten in his first professional bout. That was in 1988. Since then he's won 54 bouts with 32 of those by knockout. He's already successfully defended the IBF light heavyweight title he won in March of last year.
As he prepares to meet the WBA Super champion Beibut Shumenov (30), Hopkins says, "You'll have a chance to see history. This guy is a threat. I'm fighting guys who are hardcore, hungry and top contenders. I love history. I love trying to break records."
With Hopkins' sixty-fifth fight as a professional being screened on BoxNation, you'd reckon that both Steve Collins and Neville Brown will be tuned in.