After an entrance that would make Deontay Wilder stand to attention, Nigel Benn entered the ring in front of his former British Army regiment to face against Michael Watson. Benn had built a reputation as one of the most dangerous men at middleweight. He was a clear favourite against Watson having annihilated all 22 of his former opponents by way of knockout.
Benn, ever the aggressor, came out clubbing. He bobbed and weaved towards his man lunging as he moved, much like Joe Frazier. He was throwing bolo punches to the body and wild hooks upstairs. Watson maintained a very tight defence, having some success on the counter.
Round 3 is introduced with stiff jabs from a more engaging Watson. His shell defence provides an almost-perfect cover to counter punch from, but Benn’s relentlessness ensures some wild hooks find their home.
Round 4 and Benn looks dangerous as he clips Watson with a left hook clean. Watson again covers up high. Watson intelligently shoulder barges him off at close engagement and lands concussive blows that rattle The destroyer. Benn looks hurt but comes back strong at the end of the round.
Round 5 and what a war! The two men engage in grinding in-fighting as they vie for centre ring. Watson has abandoned his shell defence whilst Benn continues to bob and weave at the waist. The jab slows the rolling Benn as Watson zeros in with several straight punches that ragdolls Benn. As Benn looks finished on the ropes, he answers back with a tremendous uppercut that turns the tables. He launches head seeking missiles at Watson as he comes forward again. Watson reverts to his tight defence and lands a clean counter right that wilts Benn heavily late in the round.
Round 6 and Benn’s clubbing hooks are being deflected easily by Watson. Watson damages Benn with a sneaky looping punch that had The Destroyer backing away and flinching. Bizarrely the ref put a halt to the action briefly as Benn completely turns his back on Watson. As the action restarts, Benn now looks completely bedraggled. Flailing desperate hooks inside, Benn is literally flattened by a surgically precise jab. He does not recover and is counted out.
What a war!
Benn would go on to have the more outstanding career despite this loss and faced Gerald McCellan (“Mini Mike Tyson”) in a fantastic fight which unfortunately ended with a traumatic brain Injury for McCellan.
In tragically ironic circumstances, Benn’s great rival and mutual opponent of Michael Watson- Chris Eubank, would go on to do the same thing to Watson, which lead to similar extensive brain damage.
An omnipresent threat to fighters are the other fighters and the teams around them; which is a very sad aspect of the sport of Boxing. Utmost respect should go to any professional boxer who quite literally risk their lives to get an income and to entertain us.