Photography by Brian Moody
In 1991, boxer Michael Watson collapsed at the end of his World Championship super-middleweight fight with Chris Eubank. He was in a coma for 40 days, and a blood clot in his brain left him partially paralysed.
Before the accident I was not a committed Christian. I believed but I was too busy, rushing this way and that, with no time to reflect. Yet I was a loveable person in society and I was doing well. My ultimate goal was to be World Champion.
After the accident it took me a long time to face up to reality. One minute I was a top celebrity, in the ring going for the ultimate prize. The next minute, blank… I woke up in a hospital ward with strange people all around me. I was totally confused and terribly frustrated.
Before my accident, even though I believed in God I didn’t go to Church because it didn’t suit my image. I was too wrapped up in the pleasures of the world – fast cars, expensive clothes, girls. But from the moment I regained consciousness in hospital I took refuge in God.
I prayed for strength, and I prayed for Chris Eubank. I knew he was suffering. If you’ve got a heart – and he has – you can never be the same after something like this happens. I didn’t feel any anger toward him because it could have happened either way. You have to let bygones be bygones. Getting angry won’t correct the past. Instead, I knew I had to concentrate on the future and look to starting a new life.
Instead I became closer to God and found inner peace and strength. I needed to be still for a time. Now I feel brand new. I love the way I am because I’ve got a lot of love in my heart. I feel even better than I did before.
Of course, there are also times when I feel discouraged and depressed, but then friends come round and make me laugh and put joy back into my heart. I couldn’t have got this far without my friends and my family.
Certainly I believe in the concept of forgiveness. It is always better to give than to receive. I’d like to think I’d feel the same if my injuries were the result of a vicious attack. Jesus is my inspiration. Christian or not, how can you fail to be moved by the words of Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.