Harrison Destroys Kebede in Embarrassing Mismatch

10.29.04 - By Andrew Mullinder: In a mismatch that was inexcusable by any standard, but appalling considering it was a WBO mandatory title defense, Scott Harrison destroyed Swedish-Ethiopian Samuel Kebede inside a round to retain his WBO Featherweight title in Glasgow tonight

Harrison floored Kebede with the first meaningful punch of the fight – a chopping right that clipped the challenger on the back of the head. While Harrison is rated as one of the strongest Featherweights in the world, the punch did not land cleanly on either chin or temple and it was painfully clear that Kebede had no punch resistance.

From the moment the challenger gingerly rose, teetering on unsteady legs, the champion, sensing wounded pray, undertook a ferocious pursuit, swinging wildly with all of his much vaunted strength. Kebede, still on trembling legs, quickly lost his balance and fell back half way across the ring in his desperate attempts to escape Harrison’s heavy guns.

Although referee Mikey Vann gave the challenger time to regain his composure and balance, his intervention offered little more than a short stay of execution. Seconds later, Harrison connected – again with a glancing blow, again landing nowhere near the vulnerable chin or temple – and Kebede made his second visit to the canvas.

It was excruciating to watch the hopelessly out-gunned challenger rise on completely rigid legs, obviously hurt and looking like he’d staggered into the ring after sampling rather too much of Glasgow’s famous nightlife. Vann gave the Ethiopian every chance to show he could continue, but set off a chorus of boos from the crowd by calling a halt to proceedings at 59 seconds of round 1 after Kebede lurched uncontrollably toward him. “What was that little man doing in the ring with Scott Harrison?” asked commentator Jim Watt in disbelief as Vann ordered an end to the slaughter. Harrison’s record improves to 23-2-1 (13) with this hollow victory, while Kebede slips to 24-1 (14).

Harrison’s one minute demolition might have appeared impressive had his punches looked anything more than innocuous. But after seeing the abject lack of punch resistance Kebede offered, it left one to wonder how excruciatingly bad were the poor saps who had allowed the Swedish-Ethiopian challenger 24 consecutive wins? How much attention do the WBO pay to their ratings system? And had anyone from the WBO actually seen Kebede box before asking him to put his health at risk by making him mandatory challenger for their increasingly meaningless and tarnished belt?

“We have never heard of people complaining to us so bitterly about a fight – people are simply disgusted” said embarrassed Sky Sports presenter Paul Dempsey from ringside in the immediate aftermath of this WBO sponsored shambles. Former Featherweight champion, Barry McGuigan, seemed to sympathise. “People have spent their hard earned cash to watch this….and the WBO are a disgrace for letting this happen”, he said, sounding almost offended. McGuigan should be. In 1985, he pounded out a brilliant victory against the outstanding Panamanian, Eusebio Pedroza, for the WBA Featherweight Championship of the World. While Scott Harrison should be completely free of blame, the utter detritus the WBO had the nerve to call a World Championship Defence tonight, was an insult to that legacy.

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Article posted on 29.10.2004

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