30 Years On And The Pain Of The Michael Watson Fight Still Haunts Chris Eubank

By James Slater - 02/18/2021 - Comments

Chris Eubank has granted Piers Morgan an exclusive interview, during which the former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion talks in-depth about the tragic Michael Watson fight. An emotional Eubank breaks down during the interview, with Watson himself, sat in the audience, coming to Eubank’s aid. Watson, who made a miraculous recovery after spending 40 days in a coma due to the brain injury he suffered in the fight all of British boxing will never, ever forget, tells his former rival, “Let’s move on, Chris. It’s all right, bruv. I love you Chris.”

Eubank, who was unable to fully get his words out, says the fight of September 1991, is “the only thing I regret in my career.” Eubank has apologised to Watson many times, yet what happened in that fateful 11th round – Eubank being sent to the canvas, seemingly all done, only to come back with that brutal uppercut that heavily decked Watson, his head hitting the ropes as he fell – was nobody’s fault. Watson understands this, yet Eubank still has inner demons. The fight should have been stopped right then and there, instead, the 12th round was permitted to begin. Watson had nothing left and he was soon knocked down again. Eubank, a great fighter, simply did his job in going for the finish against another great fighter.

All these years later, and the fight still resonates powerfully with British boxing fans. The two bitter rivals had met in a middleweight title fight that June, with Eubank winning a hugely controversial decision. The rematch was demanded, it had to happen. When the two did meet again, Watson bossed the fight in surprising fashion. Eubank was never closer to losing his unbeaten record. Then, in that tragic 11th round, Eubank, fighting on sheer instinct, turned the fight around, in so doing forever changing his life and the life of Watson.

Watson made it back to his corner at the conclusion of the round, with assistance, but he should have been pulled out right then and there. Almost unable to move his feet and reach the middle of the ring to touch gloves, Watson was already damaged. Shockingly, there was no ambulance on the scene, nor were there any ringside paramedics. It would be around 30 minutes before Watson was in hospital and an additional four hours before he was taken to a second hospital, one that had the necessary neurological expertise that would ultimately save his life. As a result of what happened in the September 21st fight, medical protocol was forever changed in British boxing. This might be the real legacy of the fight. One of the darkest hours in modern day British boxing, Watson would spend many months in hospital.

But as Michael says in the Morgan interview special, Watson is able to “live and love.”

“We’re here together,” Watson said to Eubank. “Let’s move on. We are born warriors, we are real. God bless you, Chris.”