Tallahassee, FL -- May 15, 2012 --
David Collins started boxing back in 1973. He stopped in 1980 when he started law school and married his wife.
"I've always loved boxing. I've stayed involved in boxing either through coaching, a few years ago I had a gym here in Monticello. I actually trained a state champion. He won the state championship in 2007," said Collins.
On July 1, 2011, Collins got a call that would change his life forever. His wife of 31 years was crossing the street near his office when she was hit by a truck. She was gone.
"How can you foresee something like that happening? It happens to other people. It doesn't happen to you," said Collins.
What followed was what Collins describes as thirty to forty five days of shock. His initial reaction was to drink his troubles away.
"I realized that that was no good. There's nothing good about it. It didn't make you happy, it just makes you more sad. So, I decided to do something like boxing to break out of it," said Collins.
Collins started boxing again back in August. On June 1, 2012 he will compete in a USA Boxing Masters Division National Championship tournament in New York City.
"Probably not the best advice to jump up to a national championship tournament, but, why not? If you win it's something special. If I lose, well, heck, nobody expected you to win anyway," said Collins.
With the help of his trainer, Rodolfo Aguilar, a former welterweight champion, Collins qualified for the tournament. He trains at least twice a week with Rodolfo. Five days a week he is up before sunrise working out at his home in Fanlew.
"There's something about exercise. There's something about competition, about having a goal, that, I think helps you get, I don't know that you ever get through anything, but it helps you deal with it," said Collins.
He's lost 38 pounds since he started training. When asked if he's proud of how far he's come in the past year, he's humbled.
"I'm happy at where I'm at, as best as I can be. But proud, no. I'm proud of my kids. I'm proud of my grandson. I have pride, but I'm not proud," said Collins.
Win or lose in New York, Collins isn't quite sure what he'll do after the tournament. He's talked about opening another gym. He's looking forward to taking a break from the intense training. For now, he's rolling with the punches as best he can.
"To quote somebody that I think is a pretty smart person, I'm a work in progress. You know, we have great days. There's times you come out of the gym and you feel great but then there's times you're running on the road, you just, you know, it's not easy," said Collins.
Collins heads to New York City on May 30, 2012. The tournament will be held at the world famous Gleason's Gym. He will be joined by a group of supportive family and friends.