Nigel Benn reveals Steve Collins initially agreed to be his comeback opponent

Nigel Been [42(35)-5(4)-1] claims his controversial comeback ‘closure’ fight was close to being against Irish fight legend Steve Collins [36(21)-3(0)].

One of the middleweight and super middleweight stars of 90s British boxing today officially revealed he was returning to the ring at the age of 55 for one more fight.

The father of active pro Conor Benn wasn’t granted a British Boxing Board of Control license, but will fight under another jurisdiction on the 23rd November at Resorts World Arena, located in the National Exhibition Centre, Perimeter Rd, Birmingham. 

The former two weight world champion will face 40-year-old former super middleweight world champ Sakio Bika in a bout that has split opinion. 

Speaking to IFLTV at today’s press conference Benn also revealed his first fight in 23 years could have been against the same fighter he last fought against.

Benn claims he was initially set to face Ireland’s first two weight world champion Steve Collins. The British fighter, who twice lost to Ireland’s first two weight world champ in 1996 world title fights, said a 50/50 deal was agreed for the pair to fight.

However, the fight didn’t materalize and Benn suggests it was due to the ‘Celtic Warrior’ requesting too much money.

“It could have happened. We had an agreement and everything. We went in 50/50. I didn’t mind (about the money),” said Benn.

“For me it wasn’t about the money. He said 50% and I said ok right. Then he said I want a contract guarantying me this and then my agent said to me ‘Nigel it’s not about him it’s about you. Your the one that wants closure’.

“So then I prayed for someone that just wants to fight and he brought Sakio Bika in. Then I thought ‘forget Steve’. He could have been on a good pay day, but when you start getting greedy and it’s all about money? I have known Steve for 30 odd years and we get on well, but to be like how he is it’s not really nice.”

Over the last 10 years or so Collins, whose son of the same name has challenged for Irish and Celtic titles as a pro and whose brother Pascal looks after the careers of the likes of Spike O’Sullivan, Niall Kennedy and Ray Moylette, has hinted at a comeback.

Roy Jones Jr was on the radar and there were a few false dawns with regard to ring returns. Indeed, Collins and Benn both told the BBC they had agreed to a third fight two years ago.

Whose to say if Benn manages to look good against Bika and if the fight is a financial success talk re a rubber match may emerge again.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com