Great British Face-Off #10 - Steve Collins v Nigel Benn II
Last Updated: 17/11/13 4:41pm
Steve Collins had given Chris Eubank a rematch, so why not give Nigel Benn the chance to redeem himself?
Who: Steve Collins 30-3 (WBO Champion) v Nigel Benn 42-4-1 (Challenger)
What: WBO Super-Middleweight titles
When: November 9, 1996
Where: Nynex Arena, Manchester
Won: Steve Collins won RTD 6
Who else was on?
It ended up being a memorable night, not just because Nigel Benn called it a day - a rare retirement that did not involve a comeback... just! Chief support came from none other than Naseem Hamed, blasting Remigio Molina away in two in his fourth world title defence. Ronald 'Winky' Wright was making a small UK tour and kicked off by defending his WBO light-middleweight strap, while Hebie Hide's first-round KO of Frank Swindell set him up to win the world heavyweight title next. Local lad Michael Brodie made it 18-0 by seeing off Peter Buckley in his last non-title fight for the next five years, while the latter was starting his second century of fights, the 101st. And over at the MGM Grand in Vegas, there was the small matter of Evander Holyfield beating Mike Tyson - and not for the last time.
What we recall
"Same place in Manchester, same outcome, but this time it spelt the end of Nigel Benn's career. I think we all knew what was coming but so many people wanted to see one more night from the Dark Destroyer because he had entertained us all. I got the feeling that Nigel had already decided to retire whatever the outcome and even if he had given Collins a bit of a go in the first one, we saw none of that second time round. His heart wasn't really in it and he took a bit of a beating and eventually called a stop in the sixth." Glenn McCrory
"Collins was perhaps even stronger and more relentless in this one. He beat Benn twice fair and square and this one really did spell the end. The rematch came about because the way Benn was forced to retire, but this was almost a carbon copy, apart from the ankle injury. Like I say, Collins seemed to move up a gear or maybe it was just because this was the end for Benn and he really was fighting on instinct. He tried trading with him but you could see it wasn't going to work and you knew that was it. Perhaps the big surprise was that he didn't quit earlier -but that is Nigel Benn for you." Jim Watt
What the winner said
"For years to come they will always remember Nigel Benn as the most exciting fighter in the history of British boxing. And just when you thought he's finished, he'll always come back! And believe me, I've known that from experience in there with him!" Steve Collins
What happened next
Steve Collins got it wrong, because it was the last time we saw Nigel Benn in the ring. A third showdown with Chris Eubank came to light again but the closest they got was a Gladiator-style TV show - and that never went the proposed distance either. As for Steve Collins he wasn't far behind and after two more wins in the space of eight months, he also retired. Roy Jones Jnr was never going to come to fruition and was by now at light-heavy. Yet he were are 16 years on and the Celtic Warrior still wants that showdown...