Assault In the Ring revisits a boxing scandal considered one of the sport’s darkest hours, and traces a man’s despairing journey following his alleged involvement in a criminal plot. The documentary examines new evidence about this boxing match turned 30-minute assault, and reveals much more about the pre-fight activities of Luis Resto, his trainer Panama Lewis and the athletic commission representatives.
On June 16, 1983, undefeated prizefighter Billy Collins Jr. set out to fulfill every boxer’s dream of fighting in the world’s most famous arena – Madison Square Garden. Collins’ opponent, Luis Resto of the Bronx, moving up from welterweight, had his own dream of rising to the occasion in front of hometown fans. But what began as a match that Nashville native Collins was favored to win changed both athletes’ lives – ending Collins’ career dreams and landing Resto in prison.
Resto seemingly reached a fighter’s ultimate goal by upsetting Collins, but his post-fight victory celebration was short-lived when it was discovered that the padding had been illegally removed from Resto’s gloves by his trainer, Panama Lewis, before the fight. Resto was subsequently incarcerated and banned from the sport, while the brutally beaten Collins went into a tragic downward spiral.
Resto gives his account of the story in the documentary. Lewis, whose official career as a trainer came to an end that night, was also subsequently banned, and speaks for the first time in Assault In The Ring about the events of the fight and their impact.