KEY POINTS

  • Billy Collins Jr. suffered permanent damage to his eyes after a 10-round beatdown by Luis Resto
  • After the match, it was revealed that padding had been removed from Resto's gloves and his hand was wrapped with Plaster of Paris
  • Collins died in a car accident less than a year after the fight

The sport of boxing is commonly referred to as “The Sweet Science."

The term was coined by Pierce Egan, a British sportswriter who touched on the fact that in boxing, competitors must be scientific in their approach and strategy.

When two of the world’s best and most well-trained pugilists share the ring, it is indeed a sight to behold.

Boxing, however, also has its bitter side as it is not immune to scandals and controversies. Misconduct and unsportsmanlike behavior have all been present throughout some of the biggest moments in the sport's well-entrenched history.

Ever since its inception, one moment stands out as its darkest.

On June 16, 1983, a promising young talent named “Irish” Billy Collins Jr. faced a Puerto Rican journeyman named Luis Resto.

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Billy Collins Jr. via BoxRec.com

Collins, who was then promoted by Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing, appeared to be destined for greatness. Heading into his fight with Resto, he was undefeated in 14 bouts, with 11 wins coming by knockout.

Obviously, Collins was a heavy favorite entering the match against Resto. But during the encounter, the latter seemingly overcame insurmountable odds and battered his opponent for ten rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.

By the final round, Collins’ eyes were swollen shut and his face had absorbed so much damage. Because Resto had a reputation as a light puncher, it was quite mind-boggling how he could inflict tremendous punishment with his fists.

At the end of the fight, Collins’ father and trainer Billy Sr. noticed that Resto’s gloves felt thinner than normal and demanded it to be inspected.

It was later revealed that Resto’s trainer Carlos “Panama” Lewis had removed an ounce of padding from the gloves, making the punches harder and more damaging.

The New York State Boxing Commission then overturned the outcome of the bout to a no contest.

Decades later, it was also revealed that Resto’s hand wraps were also soaked in Plaster of Paris, making it like a hard plaster cast.

Apart from sanctions handed out by boxing’s governing bodies, Resto and Lewis were also tried and convicted for assault and criminal possession of a deadly weapon, among other things. They both served two and a half years in prison. The Puerto Rican would never fight again.

While the incident ultimately ruined the careers of Resto and Lewis, it ultimately ended the life of Collins.

Due to the unfortunate incident, Collins suffered a torn iris and permanently blurred vision, meaning he would no longer be able to fight again.

Less than a year after the fight, Collins died after being involved in a car accident. Billy Sr. believes that the accident was intentional because the aftermath of the match with Resto sent his son into a downward spiral of depression.

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