Within the world of professional boxing, we’ve seen a few ageing fighters punching away (for big paydays) well past their primes. Even with this curious sporting reality, however, the spectacle of “Benn-Collins III” is unique.
Both Nigel Benn and Steve Collins are over 50. Neither fighter has donned gloves since the 1990s. The third leg of the Benn-Collins trifecta would take place some 21 years after the duo’s second battle.
Benn and Collins battled twice in the span of four months in 1996, with Collins winning both bouts. Benn injured an ankle in the first fight and didn’t last four rounds. He didn’t come out of his corner for the seventh round in their second contest.
And yet, it’s Benn who is eager for another go and who is driving the (retirement community) bus for this third contest.
And while Benn’s ambitions may be noble and high-minded, Collins had this to say about the potential contest
“It’s just about money, a payday which will allow me to buy some more land.”
Prior to Collins’ assent, Benn was begging another fighter, Chris Eubank, to reprise the pair’s two contests.
Collins made a comeback attempt in 1999, but the effort was thwarted when he collapsed while sparring. He’s in even better shape now, however—“excellent” and “impressive” per his doctors, the fighter says.
“I am Nigel ‘Benjamin Button’ Benn. I feel like I am in my thirties.”
One big problem, though: the British Boxing Board of Control has refused to sanction their match, and now the pair must seek a license from some out-of-country authority. Under BBBofC rules, fighters must pass brain scans, as well as medical and blood tests for licensing.
Interestingly, both boxers’ sons are boxers as well. And more interestingly, both boxers’ sons don’t think their ageing fathers should be stepping inside the right.
Benn’s son, Conor, who hasn’t lost in six welterweight fights, doesn’t think his father should fight and refuses to work in his corner on the night of the contest.
Collins’ son, Steve Jr., who boasts a 12-1 record as a light-heavyweight, tweeted the following: “When I’m 50-something and have a mid-life crisis, I will just buy a new motorbike.”
Perhaps, both his father and Nigel Benn will have wished they had done the same after the final bell tolls at Benn-Collins III. Conversely, the duo could show that professional boxing remains a safe (for the fighters) and exciting (for the fans) prospect when the pugilists are past 50.
It’s easy to dismiss the Collins-Benn III as spectacle, but fans of the sweet science will turn an eye to see if a new precedent is set.