CHRIS EUBANK still has Michael Watson in his corner 30 years on from the heartbreaking fight that almost killed him.
In September 1991 Watson walked into a rematch with Eubank, just three months after they shared a thrilling 12-round battle Eubank controversially snatched on points. Sadly he would be carried out.
Already ahead on all three cards, Watson was on course to land his first world title when he dropped Eubank, for the first time in his career, with just 18 seconds of the 11th remaining.
But Eubank somehow bounced up off the canvas and instantly landed an uppercut and left hook that felled a stunned Watson and tragically bounced the back of his head against the second-to-bottom rope.
Watson never recovered from that terrible treble impact and was stopped, under siege but on his feet, almost as soon as the 12th started, before collapsing in the White Hart Lane ring.
A 40-day coma and six operations ensued to beat the blood clot that had formed on his brain, leaving him blinded, in a wheelchair and unable to talk.
Eventually Watson mounted an incredible recovery, regained most of his faculties against vicious odds and raised millions for charity.
But perhaps most incredibly he held no malice toward the two-time rival who had so tragically and accidentally disabled him.
On tonight’s episode of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, with Eubank struggling to deal with recalling the events of that night, a voice from the crowd calls out.
“Let’s move on Chris, it’s all right, it’s OK bruv,” Michael Watson, 55, yells.
“Let’s move on in life. Peace and love. I love you Chris. It’s all in the past, let’s move on in life.
“We’re here together. Let’s live and love. I love you Chris. Let’s move on.
“We are born warriors, we are real. God bless you Chris.”
The inquest into the medical failings that evening reshaped British boxing and thousands of lives have since been saved in sold-out world title fights and in empty small halls.
Eubank, a much-derided pantomime showman with the heart and chin of a celebrated gladiator, lost his cutting edge from that fight on.
But he describes the oath heroes like himself, Watson, Benn, Gerald McClellan take before they risk suffering and causing life-changing injuries.
"As soon as you start fighting you’ve got the world looking at you because the first instinct of a man is to protect, that is to fight," the 54-year-old said.
“Now, can you be a gentleman while you’re doing it? Can you do it truly? Can you go beyond?
“If you can’t win a fight, do you quit because you can’t win or do you go on taking that beating?
“And, if you can go on taking that beating, you’re doing it for the public, you are lifting their spirits. And there’s no better vocation than lifting the spirits of others.
“Whatever your predicament, whatever situation you’re in, you can rise. And that’s what we do.”
Eubank reveals his iconic career and two-weight world title reigns only happened so he could grab the attention of the three brothers who spurned him growing up.
Morgan asks him what his siblings said to him in 1990 after he had beaten fellow Brit boxing legend Nigel Benn to become middleweight champion for the first time.
And the 54-year-old lisped, with impeccable timing: “You’re still a toss pot.”
Piers Morgan's Life Stories airs Thursday, Feb 18 at 9pm on ITV
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