Once in a while, you come across a story which even in the brutal world of combat sports, is tragic. And in the fight between rising star Billy collins Jnr and tough Puerto Rican journeyman Luis Resto, we discover exactly that. One fighter believed to be on his way to stardom, facing a dangerous brawler determined to stop him.
But there would be far more to this story than just a win. What happened that night would have ramifications for decades to come. Ruining not one, but many people’s lives along the way. With a cast of characters that twist and turn in a layered story for which it seemed no one knew the truth?
Irish Billy Collins is the favourite to win and continue his unbeaten run to an inevitable world title shot. Against a stepping stone fighter in Luis Resto, who, while dangerous, simply didn’t have what it would take to win the fight, legitimately. And therein lies the conundrum, in a fight where big money and some dubious characters become involved.
Resto it appeared, found himself wrapped up in a situation where at least initially he did not know what was going on. And the man who he relied heavily upon, his cornerman and trainer Panama Lewis. Would in the end bring his whole world tumbling down.
Collins vs Resto The Fight
From the bell, Resto brought the fight to Collins. Beginning as he would normally by going to the body and slowly breaking down his opponent. But as the fight progressed he would go on to form a totally different approach. As the swelling on the face of Collins increasingly worse and worse.
Luis would make the decision to only go for the head, brutalising the face of his opponent. Which as the fight progressed became less and less identifiable. With crushing shots the Puerto Rican appeared to be the man winning the fight and there was little Collins could do about it.
“I’m a body puncher”Luis Resto
And this became evident with corner footage showing us Collins telling his team that Resto was much stronger than he had anticipated. And that power was playing out on the face and body of the fight favourite. As his team looked to try and keep the swelling to a minimum. It appeared to only be a matter of time before an upset was called.
But if not for his sheer toughness, a lesser fighter may have quit much earlier in the fight. Fearing a broken rib, with his eyes now severely swollen, Billy managed to stay in the fight and make it to the final bell. As a rapturous Luis Resto was embraced by his team, following the biggest win of his career.
The winner made his way across the ring to thank his opponent. Billy Collins Senior reached out and held Resto’s gloves, immediately calling out to the officials that there was something awry! And it was at this point that everything changed for all those involved.
What followed would be a series of twists and turns, trials, lawsuits and the eventual conviction of both Luis resto and Panama Lewis for tampering with the boxing gloves. In an action which less than one year later would see Billy Collins Jnr, now unable to box, commit suicide. A tragic turn of events that turned the world upside down for those involved.
An angry and bitter father who lost his son. A fighter who lived, but carried the burden of what he had done on that faithful night for almost 25 years. A former trainer who even, after all, this time still seemed to hold power over his boxer.
With everyone involved claiming no culpability, who was in fact telling the truth? In a documentary that set out to show Luis Resto was the victim in all this. But in the cold hard light of day, would things appear as they seem? Or was there far more to this story than we were first led to believe? In a fascinating piece of sports documentary making. The final end to this decades-long story would be one many never expected to see.
All in all an enthralling and engaging tale that played out in the most dramatic of ways. Showing even some of the toughest of men cannot run away from an ever-present conscience