I’ve read with interest the numerous articles pertaining to Scott Harrison’s impending return. Owen Slot of The Times probably summarising the topic best. The return of his withdrawn licence, in light of host of misdemeanours at home and abroad, strikes me as a routine decision for the British Boxing Board of Control and the former WBO belt holder will soon be sending shivers down the spines of Super-Featherweights at weigh-ins once more.
The many problems Harrison has endured and created are presumed to be conquered, though the snatches of media time the notoriously defensive and abrupt Scot has agreed to are not the remorse filled quasi-therapy sessions these things often are. Subsequently, the world at large has little evidence of how well contained Harrison’s vices will prove to be. As always, Harrison will hope actions speak louder than words. A mode of public interaction more fitting with his gruff and blunt personality.
Repeated falls from grace brought a different type of attention and renown, just the type Harrison figures to prefer to avoid. Those indiscretions Harrison attributes, begrudgingly and stubbornly, to “going off the rails” but with little reflection on the role of alcohol and his on-going relationship with it.
Of course, it hasn’t always been this way, there was a time Scott Harrison was the most likely of Britain’s most prominent fighters to secure a super fight. Prior to his clash with Colombian Victor Polo in January 2005, Harrison looked closer to facing Juan Manuel Marquez or Marco Antonio Barrera than Calzaghe, Eastman or Hatton looked to facing Lacy, Hopkins or Tszyu at that point.
Perhaps the world can turn on its axis once more. Featured below is an article I wrote for thesweetscience.com in the build up to the Polo fight, which was to prove contentiously close and herald a down turn in Harrison’s fortunes.
Scott Harrison Looking To Crash Party
By David Payne
However, in Victor Polo, Harrison faces a capable and seasoned campaigner in his own right who has challenged and extended three world champions. No stranger to these shores, the Colombian came within a whisker of beating the then WBO champion Juan Pablo Chacon in the fight that preceded Harrison’s first challenge for the belt in 2002.
A misplaced corner towel, spotted by everyone but the referee, caused Polo to slip, a slip adjudged a knockdown that ultimately cost Polo the championship in a tightly fought contest. But that was three years ago, and Polo has been inactive and a long way from contesting at world-title level since.
Only one of the four victories he’s enjoyed in the interim has been against a fighter with a positive record and it’s hard to predict how much the 34 year old, a pro for 14 years, truly has left beyond his name.
Tall and rangy, the Polo of 2002 had the movement and guile to cause walk forward puncher Chacon problems. Chacon, like Harrison, was strong at the weight but lacks Harrison’s accuracy and efficiency and now, with Harrison entering his physical peak and becoming more seasoned with every fight, a fading Polo is a calculated risk.
Polo will need all his savvy to prevent a motivated and well-prepared Harrison from walking through his counter-punches to destroy him early. Only once the opening bell sounds will we have an accurate picture of Polo’s motivation and how far removed he is from his prime. Despite the problems Harrison encounters with awkward movers like Medina and fleetingly Estrada, expect Harrison to grind down the Colombian and secure an eye-catching late round stoppage.
Maloney has shrewdly embroidered Harrison’s career with former champions and contenders ripe for the plucking; Tom Johnson, Tracey Harris-Patterson, Steve Robinson and Manuel Medina all falling to the Scotsman’s powers. Polo fits that model, maintaining enough lustre to impress the detached and hard to please American public, but providing only moderate resistance. Cute.
So if Polo is a stepping-stone, what’s the destination?
Harrison this week reiterated his determination to get a unification fight with Injin Chi or Juan Manuel Marquez, or a super-fight with Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera or Erik Morales. Only Chi looks a realistically winnable fight given the impervious form of the other four, but Harrison craves the opportunity, regardless.
Given his recent ledger, Harrison shouldn’t have to prove much more to earn a shot at one of the top names, but match making is far more complicated than that. All the major protagonists are manoeuvring to maximise their own earning potential against each other, and a dangerous fight with Harrison, who weighs around the Light-Welterweight limit come fight night, for low return as a ‘marking-time’ type fight just doesn’t add up.
So the quest for Harrison is to garner enough respect to be viewed in the same revered bracket as his rivals and generate sufficient interest on both sides of the Atlantic for one of those contests to gain super-fight status.
British fight fans will hope beyond hope that it will happen sooner rather than later having surely exhausted their patience waiting for Howard Eastman’s middleweight shot, Ricky Hatton’s long overdue final exam and the ongoing Joe Calzaghe soap opera.