Steve Collins former middleweight and super middleweight World champion SIGNED action 8" x 10" photo (vs Nigel Benn) mounted and presented in removable frame.
Steve Collins, nicknamed The Celtic Warrior, was born Stephen Collins on 21 July 1964, in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland.
He is considered to be one of the toughest boxers of the past century, widely considered to be the hardest pound for pound fighter of the late 90s, having never been stopped in a high profile career. The Irishman was part of a golden age of European Super Middleweight boxing, along with Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe and Nigel Benn.
He was trained by Freddie Roach throughout his career. Collins started boxing professionally in 1986. However he was long considered the nearly man of boxing, after losing three World Title fights on points. It was not until Collins reached his 30's that he fulfilled his potential, becoming the WBO Middleweight champion and later the WBO Super middleweight champion.
He won 26 Irish titles at junior heavyweight, light-heavyweight and middleweight as an amateur before turning professional in Massachusetts, U.S. in 1986.
In Boston, Massachusetts in 1988, he defeated Sam Storey to win the Irish middleweight title, then defeated World #5, Kevin Watts, and won 16 successive fights before Mike McCallum outpointed him over 12 rounds in the WBA World middleweight title fight in Boston in 1990.
In 1992, he lost at the same weight to Reggie Johnson and to Sumbu Kalumbay in the EBU decider, before beating Gerhard Botes of South Africa to win the WBC Penta Continental title in 1993. Collins then based himself in Boston where he set up training camp. Alongside him was Paul "Silky" Jones, his sparring partner and good friend who later went on to become WBO champion but in the light middle weight division. Steve was trained by Freddie Roach in the Boston training camp and throughout his career.
In 1994 he defeated Chris Pyatt to secure the WBO middleweight belt. The following year he relinquished this title without a defence, moving up to super-middleweight and defeating the previously unbeaten Chris Eubank in Millstreet, Cork, Ireland to win the WBO title.
He defended this title successfully seven times (including a second meeting with Eubank and two fights against Nigel Benn).
Always one for a bit of a laugh, Collins said to The Sun newspaper in the buildup to the first Benn fight that he had been approached by ReadyMix concrete as they were interested in sponsoring his chin.
In the Craig Cummings fight in 1997, at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, Collins was knocked down in the first 15 seconds of the fight (the third knock down in his professional career).
Collins climbed off the floor to insist it was a slip but with a cheeky grin at Cummings took the standing eight count. A total demolition of Cummings ensued and in the third round the referee stopped the fight with a very relieved Cummings leaning back on the ropes looking towards the sky. This turned out to be Collins' last professional appearance as he announced his retirement shortly after the fight.
Collins had said some years before that before retirement he would like to fight at Celtic's home ground. However, Collins was billed to fight Calzaghe and then at a late stage withdrew because of injury, had his title stripped, and then retired. Chris Eubank stepped in to take Steve's place in fighting Calzaghe, but for the then vacant WBO title.
Collins reportedly stated in the press that he had no motivation left as he had spent the best part of his career chasing Roy Jones Jr. for a unification fight that had been promised to him many times. A fight with Calzaghe would do nothing to satisfy the desire he had for fighting Jones. He then added he wanted to retire on a high note with a good pay day, "Joe is a good up-and-coming kid, but he wouldn't fill a parish church".
In 1999, he announced his decision to come out of retirement in order to fight Roy Jones Jr. Jones is said to have offered in excess of £3 million for the fight. Collins is said to have been suspicious regarding the money that Jones was offering and said to the papers that "for £3 million I would fight Mike Tyson"; this only spurred the spin doctors to assume it was a challenge at Iron Mike.
Controversy surrounded the fight as it was rumoured that Collins would have to fight Calzaghe first before a showdown with Jones. Collins had accepted this and started to prepare to fight Calzaghe. In his preparation training for the fight that was never to be, Collins collapsed during sparring. When doctors told him that blows to the head could result in his death, he retired for a second time.
He is reported to have stated in Boxing World that he has spent so long chasing Roy Jones Jr that money was not an important factor any more and that he would "fight him in a phone box in front of two men and a dog".
Collins retired with his then wife and children to the town of Bangor, County Down, with a record of: W 36 (21 KOs) - L 3.