Edison Miranda - “God has a plan for everyone. Mine is boxing.”

edison miranda18.05.07 - By James Slater: Edison “Pantera” Miranda is one tough fighting man. In fact, he has been all his life. Subsequently, following a childhood that was unimaginably bleak and hard, nothing the Twenty-six year old Columbian encounters in the boxing ring is going to be too much for him to handle. His heartbreaking formative years have been well documented by my fellow boxing scribes, indeed there is enough material there on which to base a film on Edison - what with the awful things he was able to live through.

For example, Miranda’s mother abandoned him when he was an infant, having a family friend look after him. This “friend” abused him, however, and at the age of nine Edison went in search of his mother. Yet more heartbreak was in store for him when he found her, though, as she still wanted nothing to do with him. Growing up without parents, Edison scratched an existence doing whatever menial job he could get his hands on, sweeping the streets and working the fields was nothing strange to him.

By the age of just twelve he had a full-time adult’s job in construction, and by the age of fourteen he was a cattle butcher. Talk about a gut-wrenchingly hard childhood! Eventually, as with other products of such poverty and misery, boxing offered the young man a chance at a better life.

At age sixteen, trained by Jose Bonilla, he began boxing as an amateur and had over one hundred and fifty fights - most of which were wins. In 2001 he turned professional as a middleweight in Barranquilla, Columbia, with a first round KO win over one Jose Chiquilo. He was on his way. More fights produced more quick wins in his homeland, before Edison began fighting in both The Dominican Republic and Panama. He won twenty-one in a row, all by KO, most of them inside two rounds at that - before making his U.S debut in 2005. A win on points over Sam Reese in California was his. Now starting to get noticed, Edison was given bouts that contested various small titles, his ultimate goal being the world championship, of course. And though many people would have been beaten and demoralised by the awful beginnings he himself refused to crack under, Edison says only through his huge faith in God was he able to survive and make it as a pro athlete. As religious as any boxer you care to mention, Miranda has unshakable faith that his lord and saviour will guide him to the very top of the sport he is now devoted to.

Currently in training in Puerto Rico ( where Edison now lives full-time) for his May 19th fight with the unbeaten American puncher, Kelly Pavlik - a fight that will be staged on the same bill as world champion Jermain Taylor’s bout with Cory Spinks - Edison, 28-1 (24) was keen to speak on this and any other subject regarding his quite extraordinary life. How did he initially get into boxing as a youngster, I asked him first. With the aid of an interpreter he replied, “I didn‘t even know what boxing was back then, but I had a dream. It was a message from God, and in the dream I saw myself in a boxing ring beating someone. This was the moment I knew I would become a professional fighter. All I know is God has a path for everyone, and mine is to be middleweight champion of the world.”

Who were his boxing heroes as a kid? “Muhammad Ali. He was my favourite. I watched every single one of his fights. To this very day, I still watch his fights. He was the greatest.” Speaking about his huge faith in God, does he feel as though his saviour has seen to it that becoming a world champion is his destiny? “Yes. God has a plan for everyone and mine is boxing. He sent me this message in a dream when I was a homeless boy on the streets of Columbia. From that day on, I knew what I was set out to be.”

Edison fights in the middleweight division, of course, what will it mean to him to capture the world title in this traditional of weight classes, one that has produced so many legends? “It is very important to me to become champion. A true champion is a person that fights the best. I want to be a champion that everyone is proud of, that is exciting to watch.. I want to fight the very best every time I fight. I think a true champion should fight who the people want him to fight. I will fight anyone.”

Of course, Miranda has already fought for the world title. After taking care of Britain’s Howard Eastman in a final eliminator for the IBF belt (with a seventh round TKO win in March of last year) his first shot at the world title arrived last year. What followed was a controversial and disappointing fight for the Columbian. He lost on points to the German, Arthur Abraham, in a brutal and sometimes dirty fight ( Edison was deducted two points for illegal use of the head and three points for other infringements) that was held in the champ’s home country and saw Abraham get his jaw broken a broken by a big right hand. Did Edison think he should have been the winner? “I think I was actually the winner twice. I won in the fifth round (when a long
time-out was called by referee Randy Neumann, due to the champion’s damaged jaw and it appeared as though he was unable to carry on - thus losing the bout on a TKO) and I won the fight on points. That fight was a robbery.” (the actual scores from the fight were, 116-109, 115-109 and 114-109, all for Abraham).

The fight was a hard one, for both men. Was it “Pantera’s toughest yet though? “I don’t look at any fights as tougher that any other. I am always fighting professional boxers and for every fight I need to be prepared. As long as I do my job in the gym there is nobody that can hurt me or beat me. I feel I have easily won every fight I’ve had. Even the robbery in Germany. So, as of now, I have not had a fight that I would consider the toughest.”

Moving on, Miranda boxed two good fighters after the Abraham set back. Facing two Americans, he took out the once beaten Willie Gibbs in a single round and then out pointed the undefeated Allan Greene over ten rounds. Miranda was knocked down by Greene, in a fight that saw the American hit the canvas twice himself. How tough was that fight and how badly hurt had he been by the knockdown he suffered in round eight? “It was not nearly as tough a fight as the knock down might suggest. First of all, I was
dominating the fight all along. He ]Green] did not come to fight and this made my night easy. As for the knockdown, he hit me flush, but I was off balance and going backwards. Because of this I went down. But I sprung straight back up, the punch did not hurt me at all. All it did was make me angry and want to knock him down, which I did [twice in the tenth and last round].”

Now in training for his fight on the 19th, how is Edison looking forward to his next outing? “I am training very hard for the fight, and things are going excellent like always. I am in great shape, both physically and mentally. I will go in there and execute what I have practiced in the gym for so long. I predict that Pavlik will get scared very quickly.”

The fight is on the under card of Taylor’s clash with Cory Spinks, would he love to face the winner should he get past Pavlik? “I would love to fight Jermain Taylor, without question. I pray that he is man enough to fight me after we both win on May 19th. The whole world wants this fight to happen, he is the recognised champ. But I know he’s avoiding me. He’s facing smaller guys so as not to lose. But eventually you need to have respect for the people that pay you [the fans]. He should do the right thing and fight the best, and the best is Edison “Pantera” Miranda.”

Judging by the tough Columbian’s bold and confident statements, Kelly Pavlik, unbeaten though he may be, is in for a rough night. Edison is as fearless as they come and should he get what he wants a fight between he and WBC champ Jermain Taylor would definitely be one to watch in the future. In closing, Edison spoke more on his upcoming fight.

“Pavlik has not fought anyone with my kind of power. He is in for a big surprise. My boxing skills and power will wear him down and set him up for a knockout. Expect to see Pavlik on his back at the end of the fight.”

Article posted on 19.05.2007

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