Looking at Edison Miranda’s Courageous Life

edison miranda25.05.07 - By Jaime Castro-Núñez: The day in which inspiration assaulted Colombian musician Jairo Varela to write the lyrics of the song “Buenaventura y Caney,” nobody could even imagine that on the streets of Colombia’s most important seaport in the Pacific Coast, there was Edison Miranda, a 7-year-old boy who had been abandoned by his mother six years earlier. And while the inspiration told the genius musician to write “in the pacific coast there is a town we keep in our souls, here we have love, happiness, and party,” the boy was working hard without a minute of rest. “I just wanted to be a kid and play the whole day,” said adult Edison when asked about those days of solitude and neglect.

When salsa music group Niche sang Varela’s final product, in Puerto Rico everybody knew that Buenaventura was “Gibarito´s land” and in New York, Venezuela and Panama people loved when Varela apologized for not honoring them with the song.

While “Buenaventura y Caney” traveled around the world from throat to throat, Edison Miranda walked on Colombia’s streets, solo and abandoned, trying to find his mother. Eventually he found her, but Edith Jeanette neglected him once again. At nine Edison Miranda understood that his life was in both his and God’s hands. So he started to work, first harvesting yucca root and bananas in the town of Tumaco. He ate and slept on the streets, surrounded by thefts and gangsters. Two years latter he decided to go to Barranquilla, where he tasted for the very first time the passion of being Caribbean, singing vallenato music and listening to Diomedez Díaz. And it was in Barranquilla, or Curramba The Beauty, as people affectionately nicknamed the city, where he conceived his unique dream: to box and become a champion of the world.

From 2001 to 2006 that dream seemed to be so far away, as he had been fighting a bunch of nobodies in Barranquilla, Cartagena, Panama City, Santo Domingo, and Hollywood. On March 24, 2006, and after five years of boxing “here” and “over there,” he saw the belt closer to his waist when he convincingly defeated British Howard Eastman. That victory gave him the chance to face IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, in Wetzlar, Germany.

For that championship match the loved son of Buenaventura and his Puerto Rican coach and father-figure José Bonilla, were so confident that the first thing Edison told Abraham was “Where is my belt?” Edison already knew the belt belonged to him and that the dream was 12 rounds away. In a terrific vicious fight, Edison Miranda proved his amazing punching power when he broke Abraham’s jaw in a bout that was supposed to be ruled as a “technical knockout”. Thanks to referee Randy Neumann, who let the fight to continue, protecting the champ and castigating the challenger, the belt escaped from Miranda’s hands in a questionable decision. The IBF ordered to keep Edison as ranked #1.

After the fight, Edison eagerly returned to Puerto Rico, where he lives and trains. He was confident, happy, excited, and ready to keep training and fighting. The dream was even closer. “He’s the most dedicated boxer I have ever seen. He is absolutely focused on making of himself a better boxer,” said José Bonilla. On December 16, 2006, he returned to the ring to defeat Willie Gibbs, and three months later he fought Allan Green. Then he called out Jermain Taylor, referring to him as a “Mickey Mouse, China Town champion.

And then, last week, it happened what we were waiting for last “5 de Mayo” when De la Hoya faced Mayweather. Last Saturday we saw Edison Miranda and Kelly Pavlik, two of the best middleweights in the world, give a spectacular battle which resulted in Edison’s first loss against a skilled, hard-hitting boxer like Pavlik. A loss that, if properly understood, can be taken as a lesson for the future. After his first “real” loss one wonders if Edison’s dream is still intact. I believe it is. I think Edison Miranda will return as he himself promised: “better than ever.” I hope that “better than ever” includes moving to the laterals, how to escape from dangers, hitting harder, and a more circumspect boxer. I think that he understands that the path from his native Buenaventura to glory is not easy. But, what has been easy for this charismatic guy whose courageous life is worth of books and movies?

Certainly Edison Miranda has a lot of reasons to be thankful with God, hence he does thank The Eternal whenever he has a chance. Chasing the dream is a battle itself, but after all the things he has gone through, there is no doubt that whatever his future is, Edison already defeated destiny. For me it is just too difficult to accept that a person who had a tough childhood like the one “Pantera” Miranda had, raised by nobody and exposed to the dangers of the streets, has not end up as another delinquent. And here are God’s hands in his life! If he had paid attention to a bad folk in his childhood, it is quite possible that today Colombian Police would be looking for Alias Panther, Commander Panther, Panther 000 or Doctor Panther.

But no! The Eternal is omnipotent and today I write about Edison “Pantera” Miranda, the kid that one day left his native town of Buenaventura and settled in Colombia’s Golden Gate pursuing a dream: to become a boxing champion of the world. And while pursuing the dream this “niche” enthusiastically sings “mi Buenaventura, Buenaventura y Caney.” He knows there are two steeps from “el Caney” to the boulevard, but he trains even harder because he is aware that from Buenaventura to glory there are, definitely, more than two steps.

Article posted on 25.05.2007

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