Punchlines:Ligament damage forces Harrison to postpone

Punchlines:Ligament damage forces Harrison to postpone

The Scotsman – United Kingdom
May 08, 2004
Stephen Halliday

SCOTT Harrison has been forced to postpone his defence of the WBO
featherweight title defence against William Abelyan after sustaining
an injury in training. The Scot was scheduled to face the US-based
Armenian at the Braehead Arena on 29 May but it is now likely to go
ahead three weeks later on 19 June. Promoter Sports Network hopes to
confirm the new date within the next few days.

“Scott damaged ligaments on his left arm while doing some pull-ups in
the gym,” explained Peter Harrison, the champion’s father and
trainer. “He was supposed to start sparring but can’t throw hooks or
uppercuts at the moment because of the injury.

“It’s not a major injury but after what happened in his first fight
against Manuel Medina when he lost his title last year, Scott isn’t
going to fight unless he is 100 per cent right.”

Harrison was originally due to face Abelyan, the No1 contender for his
title, in March, only for the US-based Armenian to pull out at short
notice because of injury.

By the early hours of tomorrow morning, meanwhile, Harrison will have
a clearly defined target in his quest to become the undisputed
featherweight champion of the world when Juan Manuel Marquez places
his WBA and IBF belts on the line against Manny Pacquaio at the MGM
Grand in Las Vegas.

It is without question world boxing’s most eagerly anticipated contest
of the year so far and has required little in the way of hype from
promoter Bob Arum. Marquez, the 30-year-old Mexican who has won 42 of
his 44 professional fights, is the man with the titles but finds
himself a slight underdog against boxing’s rising star Pacquaio, the
25-year-old from the Philippines who shot to global prominence with
his stunning 11th-round stoppage defeat of Marco Antonio Barrera last

A former WBC flyweight and IBF super-bantamweight world champion,
Pacquaio’s ascent of the weight divisions has seen him lose none of
his explosive punching power. His last 17 wins, in fact, have been by
knockout and he has not been in a fight which went the distance for
almost six years.

If Pacquaio’s win over Barrera proved he could successfully compete at
featherweight and also earned him the division’s No1 rating from the
respected Independent World Boxing Rankings, he perhaps faces a more
searching examination from Marquez tonight.

A bona fide featherweight for the whole of his 11-year career so far,
the man from Mexico City lost a controversial points decision to
American Freddie Norwood in Las Vegas four years ago for the WBA
title. Avoided by Naseem Hamed, Marquez had to wait until February
last year for his second shot at a world title and left no room for
doubt with an outstanding seventh-round stoppage of compatriot Manuel
Medina for the IBF belt.

Last November, Marquez unified the IBF and WBA titles with a bizarre
seventh-round win over a petrified Derrick Gainer and is, with some
justification, miffed at receiving less recognition for his
achievements than Pacquaio.

“Last year was a great year for me, I worked hard to win two titles,”
said Marquez. “It is impossible for me to leave these titles
here. Pacquaio is a good fighter but he already talks about fighting
people like [Erik] Morales after me. Anything else I need to say about
this will be said on Saturday night with my two hands.”

British fans can catch the fight at 9am tomorrow morning on Sky Sports
2 and I believe they will see Marquez upset the odds and earn the
right to be called the best featherweight in the world.

AUDLEY Harrison is back in action tonight, making the first defence of
his WBF heavyweight title against former British champion Julius
Francis in Bristol.

While the giant Londoner should have few problems in racking up a 16th
straight win as a professional, Scottish interest in the BBC 2
televised bill centres on New Cumnock super-featherweight Andrew

The 23-year-old will earn the biggest purse of his career when he
challenges WBF super-featherweight champion Carl Johanneson, son of
former Leeds United footballer Albert Johanneson, in the chief
supporting contest.