Luis Resto and Billy Collins are two boxers whose names are forever linked in a story of controversy, tragedy, and injustice. Their fight on June 16, 1983, in Madison Square Garden, New York, was supposed to be a stepping stone for Collins, a promising young boxer on the rise. Instead, it would end his career, destroy his life, and change the sport of boxing forever.
The Buildup to the Fight
Before their fateful fight, Luis Resto and Billy Collins were just two boxers trying to make a name for themselves. Resto, a journeyman fighter from Puerto Rico, had fought 30 times, winning 20 eight fights, and losing 8. He was not considered a serious threat to Collins, who was undefeated in his first 14 fights.
Collins, on the other hand, was a rising star in the boxing world. He was a hard-hitting, aggressive fighter with a bright future ahead of him. He had won all of his previous fights by knockout, and his trainer, Panama Lewis, was confident that he would come out on top against Resto.
From the opening bell, it was clear that something was wrong. Resto, who had never been a big puncher, was suddenly hitting Collins with tremendous force. His punches seemed to be harder and sharper than they had ever been before.
Collins, for his part, was still fighting hard, but he was taking a lot of punishment. By the 10th round, he was badly beaten and bleeding heavily from his mouth. His trainer, Panama Lewis, asked him if he wanted to continue, and Collins nodded his head, determined to see the fight through to the end.
When the fight was over, Luis Resto was declared the winner by unanimous decision. It was a shocking upset, but what happened after the fight was even more shocking.
As Collins and his team were leaving the ring, they noticed that Resto's gloves looked unusual. They were missing the padding that was supposed to protect his knuckles, and they felt hard and heavy to the touch.
Collins and his team immediately protested, and the gloves were examined by the New York State Athletic Commission. It was discovered that the padding had been removed from Resto's gloves before the fight, making them essentially bare-fisted. Also, Resto's hand wraps were hardened like plaster. He had been hitting Billy Collins with rocks.
The implications of this discovery were devastating. Collins had taken a tremendous amount of punishment in the fight, and the lack of padding in Resto's gloves had likely caused much of that damage. Collins was rushed to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had suffered a detached retina and a broken nose. His boxing career was over.
Resto and his trainer, Panama Lewis, were arrested and charged with assault. They were both found guilty and sentenced to prison. Resto was banned from boxing for life, and Lewis was banned from working in the sport.
The Aftermath of the Aftermath
The story of Luis Resto and Billy Collins shook the boxing world to its core. The idea that a boxer could cheat in such a way was unthinkable, and the fact that it had happened in a high-profile fight in Madison Square Garden was even more shocking.
In the years that followed, the sport of boxing underwent significant changes to prevent something like this from happening again. Rules were put in place to ensure that gloves were properly padded and inspected before fights. Referees and judges were given more training and oversight to prevent corruption and cheating.
But the damage had already been done. Billy Collins never fully recovered from his injuries. He struggled with depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction for the rest of his life. In 1984, just one year after the fight, he was killed in a car accident, at the age of 22.
Luis Resto, for his part, spent more than two years in prison for his role in the assault. He was released in 1986, but his boxing career was over. He later expressed remorse for what he had done, saying that he had been pressured by his trainer to cheat.
The story of Luis Resto and Billy Collins is a tragic one, but it is also an important one. It is a reminder of the dangers of cheating in sports, and the devastating consequences that can result. It is a reminder of the need for integrity, honesty, and fair play, not just in boxing, but in all sports.
It is also a reminder of the human cost of such actions. Billy Collins was a young man with a bright future ahead of him, but that future was taken away by the actions of others. Luis Resto, too, paid a heavy price for his role in the assault. His career was over, and his reputation was forever tarnished.
The story of Luis Resto and Billy Collins is a cautionary tale, but it is also a story of resilience, perseverance, and the human spirit. It is a story of a young man who fought hard, despite the odds against him, and a young man who paid a heavy price for his mistakes. It is a story that will live on in the annals of boxing history, as a reminder of the need for honesty, integrity, and fair play in all sports.