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Bare Knuckles
Jeff Pearlman
October 26, 1998
The night Billy Collins fought Luis Resto, something was terribly wrong with Resto's gloves. The beating Collins took cost him his career—and maybe his life
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October 26, 1998

Bare Knuckles

The night Billy Collins fought Luis Resto, something was terribly wrong with Resto's gloves. The beating Collins took cost him his career—and maybe his life

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Along with the action against the commission, the Collins estate filed a lawsuit against Giovanelli, claiming he had been negligent in checking Resto's gloves and that this had caused the debacle in the ring. That case ended in a hung jury.

These days Billy and Bettye Collins sit at home a lot. They run errands and visit relatives. As a result of disputes over the lawsuits and the estate, among other things, they no longer speak to Andrea, and they see little of their granddaughter Alisha, whom Andrea does not allow to visit the Collinses.

Billy continues to raise pit bulls. It helps him to contemplate something other than boxing and what it did to his son. And yet, not a day goes by that he doesn't think about what Ray could have done in the ring. "He was on his way," says Billy.

In the Morris Park gym in the Bronx, Luis Resto fills his time sweeping and sparring, sweeping and sparring. He has long since given up on fighting again, but the athletic commission recently approved his request to work corners. That gives him hope.

In his hovel deep below the gym, Resto lives a hermit's life. He is no longer recognized as a scrappy former fighter, not even as the kid who destroyed Billy Ray Collins. "That was a long time ago," he says. "I remember, but who else does?"

In Las Vegas, Francois Botha is preparing for his next fight. His trainer, Panama Lewis, cannot work his corner. But he can earn big money training fighters, and he has done so repeatedly since he got out of jail in 1989. He is part of boxing. Fourteen years after the death of Billy Ray Collins Jr., Panama Lewis is part of boxing.

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