Boxing: Harrison has the skills to win back world title from Medina

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It has been a difficult summer for Scott Harrison since waking up the morning after losing his World Boxing Organisation featherweight title in July to the Mexican veteran Manuel Medina.

Harrison entered the ring the previous evening as a firm favourite in front of an adoring 6,000 crowd in Glasgow. But during 12 rounds of one-sided and ultimately painful boxing he was given a boxing lesson normally reserved for novices.

When it was over, and Medina had left the ring with the belt, there was an inquest into Harrison's performance that raged for weeks and has never been fully resolved. Thankfully, a rematch was secured and tonight, back at the Braehead Arena on the outskirts of Glasgow, the two fighters will do it all again.

At first, Harrison's performance was blamed on a mysterious virus. There were also strong rumours that he was finding it increasingly difficult to make the featherweight limit. In the days that followed the loss of his title, Harrison dismissed the rumours about his weight and other people dismissed the suggestion that a bug had led to his defeat.

On the night, Medina was simply too clever, cagey and resilient, and Harrison often looked like a stranger in a foreign land. It was both a remarkable and terrible performance. Anyone who had previously seen Harrison fight would have barely recognised him in the ring.

Medina turned pro when he was 14 in the back streets of Tijuana on the Mexican border with America, and his fight against Harrison was his 74th in a career that started 18 years ago. He is 32, looks 50, but in the ring made a fool out of Harrison.

Harrison had won the title from Argentina's Julio Pablo Chacon and defended it once against Belfast's Wayne McCullough, and he had looked brilliant on both occasions against high-quality opponents. When the fight with Medina was arranged it looked like an ideal match, one that would allow Harrison to get some extra rounds before pushing for a meeting against Marco Antonio Barrera, the tiny Mexican who was then the best fighter in the world at featherweight.

It all went wrong back in July and there are many people that think tonight's encounter will be no different. But Harrison and his promoter, Frank Warren, disagree.

"I have no idea, I still have no idea what went wrong that night,'' Harrison said. "It was not me in the ring, but it will be me in the ring this time and the result will most definitely be different.''

In the first fight Harrison made basic mistakes and there is clearly room for him to improve. If he allows Medina, who is ugly to watch but sickeningly effective, to spoil from the start then a repeat looks possible. But if Harrison can get his feet and hands moving in unison then he will do what he should have done last time and beat Medina with a display of calculated boxing.

If Harrison is on form, he can stop Medina late in the fight because that is exactly what should have happened this summer in Glasgow.

Comments