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If you know me, then you know that i'm a HUGE boxing fan...This is partially due to getting interested in the sport when I was probably 5 or 6 years old by watching my cousin Billy fight on TV.  25 years ago, he fought in a fight that would change the sport of boxing forever.

He fought a guy named Louis Resto (trainer was Panama Lewis) at Madison Square Garden for 10 rounds.  All of this time it has been known that Resto's trainer, Panama Lewis had removed the padding from his gloves and he was actually hitting Billy with his bare hands.

Yesterday, we learned in a press conference given by Resto that the tape that was used to tape his hands up before the fight was dipped in plaster of paris,creating a solid cast around his hands.  During the fight between rounds, Billy was saying that it felt like he was getting hit with bricks...well...this give some explanation to his statements.  After 10 rounds of this brutal and criminal beating, I just want to highlight that Billy was never knocked down.

Sadly, Billy suffered permenant eye damage which prevented him from getting his boxing license to fight or maintain a job anywhere.  Falling into a deep depression, he began drinking and was killed in a car accident soon after the fight.

With knowledge of this, Billy's widow Annie is petitioning the courts to reopen the case. 

Read stories about it here and here.

Posted on Friday, April 4, 2008 9:15 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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Rob, this is a great story (although tragic end). However, I can't seem to get the link you posted to work - just a heads up. I'd love to read more about this.
Left by Jerod Crump on Apr 04, 2008 9:37 AM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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Sorry, just re-read the post and apparently overlooked the part where Billy died. Didn't mean to say "great story".
Left by Jerod Crump on Apr 04, 2008 6:37 PM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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Sorry for your loss. I remember this fight and the photo of Billy the next day. My jaw dropped when I heard that Resto's wrappings were dipped in plaster of paris. Billy Collins was tough as nails. To be hit with plaster casts for 10 rounds and never drop to a knee? It gives me chills to even think about what he endured. Then to find out that Resto had a history of pulling the stuffing out of his gloves and was previosly DQ'd for the same thing in the amateurs? Billy Collins was done wrong...by Resto, by Panama Lewis and by the boxing commission. How could the ring ref not notice anything wrong? There are so many unanswered questions in this case.
Left by Pat on Apr 05, 2008 7:43 AM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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I too am a huge boxing fan in a family of boxing fans but was only 3 at the time of Billy's last fight. However, I have seen replays and my Dad always told me growing up that Billy would have been champ. I am sickened when I see Lewis at fights nowadays. He should be in jail. THe stuffing and now the plaster of Paris is downright criminal.

Your cousin had amazing courage. Please send Billy's parents my condolences. My heart tears apart on replays when I see Billy and his Dad together in the ring after the fight.

God bless Billy and your family.
Left by Bryan on Apr 05, 2008 7:53 PM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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Very intresting Billy "RAY" Collins is my cousin too!
Left by cindy on Apr 22, 2008 11:31 AM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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mr.foster, ray was also my cousin BUT noone in the family knows who you are, could you go into detail on which side of the family you are from?

we appreciate the article and not forgeting our cousin, it's about time this all has come full circle but with resto and lewis participation, in my opinon this will never be full circle....
Left by bubba on Apr 25, 2008 11:53 AM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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I fought Billy in the ring many times, and out of 64 amatuer fights, I would say that he was the toughest fighter I ever stood toe to toe with. I can still remember the stare he had as he fought and how intimidating he was. Funny also as to how many folks are claiming to be his kin and those that were his friends. Where were they after the fight?
Left by Runnin Late on Apr 28, 2008 11:01 AM

# re: My Cuz--Irish Billy Collins
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Answering several quertions....

I am cousins with Andrea (on my mother's side of the family), who was married to Ray at the time which I guess that makes me related by marriage only. I was a few years younger, but I actually at their wedding!

I still have a signed promotional photo that Ray sent to me because he knew that I liked to watch him box on TV that says "To my little cuz--Irish Billy Ray Collins", which is why I chose "My Cuz" as the title for my blog post.

Thanks to all who read and commented on this blog post!
Left by Rob Foster on Apr 28, 2008 1:53 PM

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