Billy Collins Snr confronts Luis Resto

New film examines fight that ended the career of Irish Billy Collins


Billy Collins Snr confronts Luis Resto


The tragic story of "Irish Billy Collins" and the brutal fight which ended his career is being retold in a new documentary on HBO.

"Assault in the Ring," will debut August 1 and focuses on the scandal which many consider boxing's darkest hour.

The undefeated Irish Billy Collins was a rising star in 1983 when he stepped into the ring in Madison Square Garden on June 16 to fight veteran welterweight Luis Resto.

Resto - a Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx - was the hometown favorite but Collins was expected to win the bout.

However, the boxing match turned into a 30-minute assault as Resto pounded Collins on the face with brutal force.

It has been reported that Billy told his father and the rest of his corner that when Resto hit him "it felt like he was hitting me with a brick".  Billy Sr. asked him if they should stop the fight.  "No", said Billy Jr., and the fight continued for the entire 10 rounds.

Collins staggered back to his corner as Resto was declared the winner and Collins' father, Billy Collins Snr, looked horrifed at the injuries his son had sustained.

One of the TV commentators can be heard sympathizing as Collins Snr tries to tend to his battered son.

Then, as the TV cameras continue to follow the victor, Resto comes over to the Collins' corner and shakes hands with Billy Collins Snr.

The cameras clearly catch the moment when Collins Snr makes the chilling discovery that Resto's gloves are missing their padding.

Distraught and angry, he shouts for the commisioner to come over and examine Resto.

Resto's post-fight celebtrations were cut short as investigators discovered that his trainer, the menacing Panama Lewis, had removed the padding before the fight.

But it was too late for Collins.

His iris had been torn in the pounding he received which left him unable to box. He found it difficult to hold down a job and began to use marijuana and alcohol to dull the pain.

In July 1983, the Collins family tried to sue Lewis, Resto, Top Rank Boxing (the fights promoter), the inspectors, the referee and Everlast (the manufacturer of Resto's gloves) for gross negligence and loss of income.

The court proceedings were stopped after Collins died in a late-night car accident in 1984 in his home state of Tennessee.

The documentary turns up new evidence about the bout that turned into an assault and also reveals much more about what actually went on that night - and more importantly  - what went on before the fight.

Resto, who was jailed and banned from the sport, gives his account in the documentary, while Lewis, who was also jailed and banned speaks for the first time.


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