By Clive Bernath: The chances are if you’re under a certain age(30ish) and an avid young boxing fan you will not have been aware of the great all British middleweight rivalry between Michael Watson, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Those of us that can recall the fearsome battles between three of the most powerful, brave and tenacious boxers ever to grace a British boxing ring, were truly blessed to have been able to witness such historic and sometimes brutal fistic rivalry.
I was lucky enough to have been ringside for a number of those incredible battles and have often shared my memories of those great nights out at the fights with younger fans of the noble art. Whilst sharing my experiences I also felt a little sad that these eager young listeners had missed out on the last true era of domestic dust ups between three so evenly matched pugilists.
So Imagine my delight when boxing writer Sanjeev Shetty published a book about the warring warriors entitled ‘No Middle Ground’. Over a four year period from 1989 to 1993, Benn, Eubank and Watson fought each other numerous times and each one of the battles had fans on the edge of their seats.
Shetty painstakingly spoke to the fighters, their respective teams and many of the integral people involved to capture the scene of the fight nights excellently. The way in which he introduces the reader to each of the boxers personalities in fine detail from their adolescent youth through to maturity early on in the book sets the tone perfectly.
What made the boxers so unique was that all three were very evenly matched in terms of talent and ability and any one of them could defeat the other on any given day. But their abilities varied. Whereas Benn relied solely on punching power and intimidation, Eubank was more of the thinking fighter and showman whilst Watson could box, was technically sound and was a physically imposing figure. The varying styles made for some intriguing battles.
Shetty takes the reader through an amazing journey that started inside a tent in Finsbury Park North London in May 1989, and ends tragically on cold night at White Hart Lane Football on September 21, 1991.
As far as boxing books go this is one of the better ones, highly informative and well written.