Why Harrison should fight Arthur now

27.07.05 - By James Allan: I was interested to recently read that Frank Warren hopes to set up a clash between Alex Arthur and Scott Harrison sometime next year. Frank has been quoted as saying that Harrison will go up in weight and that the fight will take place at Super Ė Featherweight or possibly even Lightweight. Scott Harrison has a fight in October and possibly a mandatory after that so Frank Warren would like to get the fight set up within the next nine to twelve months.

Now while there is no doubt that this would be a huge Scottish showdown and a good payday for both fighters, it is my belief that the longer the fight takes to materialise, the more beneficial it will be for Alex Arthur. The effort that it takes Scott Harrison to boil his huge frame down to the Featherweight limit has to take some kind of toll on him.

He may dispute this and say that it is no problem for him to get down to 126 pounds, but the fact that he puts on almost another stone between weigh in and fight time would suggest that he is too big for the Featherweight division.

Arthur however seems comfortable at Super Ė Featherweight. He does not need to go through a hellish training regime to make his limit and consequently he does not gain a huge amount of weight between the weigh in and fight time. I am not convinced that this huge weight gain in such a short space of time does the body no harm. The human body is not designed to take on such huge weight gains so quickly and it must impair a personís ability to function.

I am sure that this is one of the main reasons that Scott has looked less than impressive in his last few fights. The smaller men do not traditionally enjoy the same longevity in their careerís than the bigger men do and the effort that it must take Scott to make the weight has to be surely sapping his body of the resistance it needs to be competitive. Once this resistance has gone it never comes back no matter whether or not a boxer moves up in weight in order to make it easier for them to make the limit. I think Scottís body is close to reaching this point and another two fights at Featherweight may take too much out of him to compete effectively.

While Scott is obviously a very strong man for a Featherweight, I personally donít see him as a particularly devastating puncher. Harrisonís strength seems to manifest itself in the way that he is able to get on top of fighters and they are then unable to push him off. This was most obvious in the Wayne McCullogh fight. McCullogh was never able to put enough distance between himself and Harrison to allow him to unleash some of his own shots, and any time he did manage to connect, Scottís superior strength allowed him to soak them up.

This is very similar to what happened in his fights with Chacon and Abelyan. His knockout record while still being good is not as impressive as that of Chacon, Polo, Brodie or Marquez. He is strong, but not overwhelmingly strong. And at Super Featherweight that advantage is likely to count for less where the bigger fighters will be better equipped to physically compete with him. There is also very little argument that Scott doesnít cope well with fighters that show him movement. Medina tormented him in their first fight.

While Scott has told everyone that he was ill that night and in no fit condition to fight he also had problems with him in their second fight. After having a terrible start, Medinaís superior boxing skills allowed him to stay in the fight until the eleventh round when his bad start and Scottís strength finally got to him. Polo also gave Scott a hard time in their fight and had more than reasonable cause to be aggrieved at the judges scoring of their fight. Arthur on the other hand has a very impressive knockout record and after his loss to Gomez he also seems much more willing to use his boxing skills.

Arthur has also said that he was ill the night he fought Gomez and was in no fit condition to fight. Perhaps it was Arthurís misfortune to be in the ring with a brawler like Gomez when he was ill while Scott was lucky enough to be in with Medina who has never really been recognised as a hard puncher. Whatever the reason, Arthur took a hiding from Gomez. He got involved in a war with him, and handed Gomez his only real chance of beating him. But to his credit, this defeat seems to have done more for Arthurís career than the victory has for Gomezís, to such a degree in fact that it is now Gomez the victor who is chasing Arthur the loser for a rematch.

While I would like to see this fight take place, I donít ever see it happening. Gomezís career seems to be going on the slide, while Arthurís is moving on to bigger and better things. Gomez doesnít really have anything to make the fight attractive to Arthur. Yes, I know he holds a victory over him but boxers arenít just sportsmen now they are also businessmen. Gomez will have to bring something more substantial to the table to attract Arthur into the ring with him again. Also I donít actually see the fight being that competitive.

The new Arthur would not get suckered into a brawl with Gomez and judging on Arthurís last two performances he would be too much for Gomez. He was excellent against Docherty. He didnít take any stupid chances, he picked his shots carefully and the uppercut that broke Dochertyís nose and the body punch that finished him were beautiful punches. Also against Sinitsin he could probably have finished the fight within the distance if he had chosen to really go for him. However, Arthur knew that he was well in control, and decided not to take any stupid chances, why get involved in a tear up where anything can happen, when you are already well on top in the fight and the finishing light is in sight.

Harrisonís best chance of a victory over Arthur would be to get him involved in a war, where Arthur forgets his boxing and stands in front of Harrison and allows him to employ his strength. I donít see Arthur allowing that to happen.

To my mind the only area in which Scott currently enjoys a real advantage is in the level of competition both have faced. Scott has been in with the likes of Medina, Polo, Chacon, McCullogh, Tom Johnson and Tracy Harris Patterson, all fighters who have won or challenged for major honours. The biggest names on Arthurís record so far are Willie Limond, Gomez and Sinitsin. But in twelve months time, Arthur should be ready to start facing much tougher opposition.

It would seem better for Scott if he could face Arthur now while he is still green at real world level, than to allow him to gain another years experience. Frank Maloney may ask what Alex Arthur has done to deserve a fight with Scott Harrison, and the answer is simple, he has won and holds the British, Commonwealth and European titles, if Scott decides to move up it would seem sensible to have a fight before searching for a second World title.

Arthur would make a perfect opponent for him, someone with a bit of credibility who holds recognised honours. Unfortunately for Scott I fear that the longer he waits the more the advantage shifts to Arthur. And if he lost to Arthur, it would be hard to see where he could go from there.

Article posted on 27.07.2005

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