Many respected pundits regard this fight as the most tragic in all combat sports…

Given the concentration of seriously tragic outcomes in combat sports, it takes a lot to have the label of ‘the most tragic.’ Sadly, in the case of Billy Collins Jr., this was unequivocally true.

Born September 21, 1961 in Nashville, Tennessee to a working class family, Collins was a talented young boxer. Showing the glimpses of potential that future champions are associated with, there was a bright future ahead.

Unfortunately, Collins Jr.’s potential was never reached.

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Collins Jr. vs. Luis Resto

After compiling a spotless 14-0 record, Collins Jr. was on the brink of breaking through. Amid the stream of talent in the early 1980’s, a few more wins would have sealed Collins Jr. in a national or international title fight.

Earning a spot on a Madison Square Garden Duran vs. Moore undercard, the 21-year old faced Luis Resto, a former Golden Gloves champion. What happened that night in June 1983 would go down in history for all the wrong reasons.

Tampered Gloves

After 12 rounds of boxing, Collins Jr. was beaten badly, swollen and bleeding, and the decision went in Resto’s favour. Although he was the betting favourite, Collins appeared to have met a stern match in Resto.

This notion would last mere minutes, as Collins’ father shook the gloved hands of Resto, and noticed something strange. The padding from the front of Resto’s gloves had been removed, exposing his knuckles under the thin layer of leather.

Spiralling in to a devastating turn of events, Collins Sr.’s discovery was just the tip of the iceberg.


Clearly aware he’d been ousted, Resto broke down upon Collins Sr.’s discovery of the tampered gloves. Resto and his trainer would later serve  just under three years in jail for assault, but that sentence would pale in comparison to what Collins Jr. went through.

Sustaining injuries to his face that would prevent him from ever boxing again, Collins Jr. lost a number of jobs before committing suicide. His family later claimed it was a direct result of Resto’s cheating that caused Collins to lose all hope in life.

Collins Jr. died six months after the Resto fight, driving his car in to a culvert, killing him on impact. Out of respect for Collins’ family, we won’t show the tragic fight that led to these horrible circumstances. The New York commission and Resto weaselled their way out of multiple lawsuits on technicalities.

Rest in peace Billy Collins Jr. 1961-1984.

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