Two legends of Scottish boxing are to come back to television screens next month as BBC Scotland plans to fill the gap brought about by a lack of live sport by showing the classic 15-round battle between Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt.
The British lightweight title fight from 1973 will be the first in a series of iconic Scottish sporting moments, featuring Andy Murray’s Wimbledon successes and Olympic glory for Chris Hoy and Rhona Howie.
The fight stands out because it featured a former and a future world champion. Buchanan won the world lightweight title in 2970, losing it to Roberto Duran at Madison Square Garden in 1972, while Watt won the WBC lightweight title in 1979, losing it to Alexis Arguello two years later.
The fight took place in January 1973, just seven months after Buchanan lost to Duran. Watt, who was making the first defence of the title, was having his 18th professional bout.
Incredibly, while the fight featured two all-time greats of Scottish boxing, there was only an audience of about 700 in attendance.
It took place on the opening night of the St Andrew’s Sporting Club at the Albany Hotel in Glasgow. It was al all-male audience, all dressed in formal dining suits, which had just been served a traditional Burns’ Night dinner of haggis. The club is still going strong nearly 50 years later, although the Albany Hotel, once the swankiest place to stay in Glasgow, was demolished in 2007.
It was the last time that Buchanan ever boxed in Scotland, although Watt’s greatest moments would also come in Glasgow, as he won the WBC title by beating Alfredo Pitalua at Kelvin Hall in 1979 and then beat Howard Davis Jr outdoors at Ibrox Park the following year.
While a grainy version of the Buchanan-Watt fight can be seen on YouTube, the BBC screening, will restore the fight to its former glory. It will be shown on BBC Scotland on Friday July 3 and also will be available on the BBC iPlayer.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 – covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.