FORMER world champion boxer Steve Collins has sensationally announced he is to return to the ring – for his first fight in 16 years.
The Dubliner confirmed today that he will fight American legend Roy Jones Jr.
The former WBO middleweight and super middleweight champion were lined up to fight each other on a number of occasions in the late 90s but the match never happened.
Collins has claimed that Jones always came up with an excuse to dodge him.
But the 48-year-old looks set to get his chance to prove himself against the four-time world champion, who won 55 of his 63 professional contests.
Collins told TalkSport in the UK: “It’s not a comeback as such, at my age I’m too old for that, but it will be the end of a 15-year grudge.
“It’s a fight Roy Jones needs. He claims to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters around but he refused to fight me.
“I was very happy with my career, but the one fight I wanted was Roy Jones, and when that didn’t happen I retired. To me he was afraid of me. I don’t think he’s a coward, but at the time he was!
“But now it’s happening. I spoke to Roy and we’re going to get it on. He wants one more fight before he retires and this is the one he wants.
“If we get a good offer we’ll split it down the middle and get it on.
“I would like 10-12 weeks to get ready. In my mind I already see how that fight goes and I can see the outcome. I feel like I’ve never been away. I’m looking forward to it.
“This is still a match. We’re the same generation. I wouldn’t even consider fighting as guy 15 or 20 years younger than me, because that’s not a match. But we’re the same age and this is affair match. It won’t be any different to how it would have been 15 years ago.
“I’d love the fight to be in the UK but there is interest from Dubai, Russia, China. Dubai looks the favourite, but we’ll have to see where the offers come from.
“Hopefully we’ll get an offer that’s suitable for us both and we get it on. It will give all old-timers some hopes!”
The Dubliner insisted he is not stupid enough to risk his health in one last chase for glory.
“I’ve got medical tests arranged and if I don’t get a 100pc pass form the doctors, then forget it,” he added. “There’s no way I’ll fight if I don’t get the all-clear.”