Harrison eyes Barrera clash

06.01.05 - By Steve Mckenna: SCOTT Harrison and Frank Maloney are doing all they can to talk up a battle with Marco Antonio Barrera. May 5 in Las Vegas is the date they have in mind. And who can blame them?

A fight with the Mexican legend is the best out there for the Scottish featherweight. He's brings glamour and money to the table and, after his rubber match victory over compatriot Erik Morales, he's top of the pile again. But, as we've seen in the past on more than one occasion, he's not unbeatable. Could Harrison be in the right place, at the right time, and be the one to send him into retirement?

Whatever the case, the dour-faced Scott needs a big fight in 2005. He's recovered well since his career came off the rails when he under-performed, and lost his WBO title, to veteran Manuel Medina in the summer of 2003.. He battered Medina to a rematch victory, before stopping Walter Estrada and William Abelyan in front of his fanatical support at Glasgow's Bravehead Arena. However, his last fight, a 59-second pushover against the woeful Samuel Kebede, was no good for anyone the fans who paid their hard-earned money to watch, promoter Frank Warren's reputation, the WBO and Harrison himself. The 27-year-old knows he can't afford another easy blowout like that. He has always said he'd fight the best and would take on all comers, so another mismatch would be disastrous for his profile and future prospects.

But before Harrison can get to Barrera, he must fight Colombia's Victor Polo on January 28 and not only must he beat him, he must beat him convincingly. Polo is fairly well-known in the States, and has been in with decent company. But Harrison should prevail and that will at least put him in the mix for a clash with Barrera, the reigning WBC super-featherweight champion.

However, you can't help but be sceptical when you hear noises coming from Sports Network that Harrison v Barrera could on the cards. For one reason or another, the big fights failed to materialise for the camp's main boxers in 2004. And even Maloney, Harrison's manager, is not making any promises with this one. "I'm not saying that he will get it but I've spoken to the promoters and hopefully we can wear them down," he said. But the ingredients seem right for this bout to happen.

In any normal situation, you could argue that Harrison is not a big enough name for Barrera, that perhaps, like Ricky Hatton, fighting on home territory for so long has dented his reputation in America. But most of the other top names between nine stone and 9st 4lbs seem to be tied-up at the moment. Manny Pacquiao, Barrera's number one choice, is poised to have a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez in February and there is talk of him then taking on Morales in July. Unless Barrera has a fourth fight with Morales, or takes on Korean Injin Chi, his diary appears to be free. And that's where Harrison comes in.

You have to wonder if the two ever met whether the powerful Scott would be too crude for the Mexican legend. He can box, he can brawl he is basically total class. And if a faded Medina could outpoint Harrison, an admittedly under-par one, how easy Barrera would find it?
My guess is that he wouldn't find it simple at all. Barrera doesn't like working at a furious pace these days. Pacquiao showed that and so did Morales in the final six rounds of their last classic. And Harrison's workrate is his main strength. He could force Barrera, now 31, into 12-round tussle and how much has Marco got left in the well? Hopefully we'll find out. British, fight fans are desperate for the big ones to happen this year and there would be few bigger than this. All Harrison can do is make sure Polo doesn't upset the apple cart and hope the out-of-the-ring business takes care of itself. But, with boxing politics notoriously tricky to resolve, let's not hold our breath, hey?

Article posted on 06.01.2005

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