Let Pickering have his shot at Harrison

09.09.05 - By James Allan: I was intrigued to hear last week that Esham Pickering, the current European and Commonwealth Super Bantamweight Champion, was on a shortlist of two names lined up to fight Scott Harrison for his WBO World Featherweight title (the other being Nedal Hussein) in his scheduled October the First defence at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow before it had to be postponed due to ligament damage in Scottís left arm..

Harrison and Pickering have engaged in a lot of verbal sparring over the years. Pickering claims that Harrison is one-dimensional and that he would outbox him before eventually knocking him out. Harrison has responded by pointing out that a proposed fight between the two back in 2002 for the British title didnít go ahead as the British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the fight as they didnít consider Pickering to be good enough and that he does not have the experience or the reputation at World level to justify fighting him. However, an impressive victory for Pickering in Madrid against the up till then undefeated Spanish fighter Miguel Mallon and a lacklustre show by Scott against Victor Polo, followed by a not totally convincing victory against Michael Brodie, has bolstered the possibility of them finally meeting.

While I have sometimes been critical of Scott, I would give him plenty of credit for fighting Pickering, as he represents an almost no win scenario for Scott. If Scott wins, people will dismiss his victory, claiming that Pickering was too small, lacked experience, had never really fought top class opposition before etc etc. If he was to lose however, it would realistically be the end of his career in top-level boxing. His long talked about dreams of unifying the titles and his proposed move up to Super Featherweight to become a two weight World Champion would be over. While he would undoubtedly get a rematch against Pickering, even if he won it, his reputation would be irreparably tarnished and he would never again be in a position to demand big money to fight against the top names in his division.

What would make it such a courageous decision to take Pickering on, is the fact that Pickering is a live opponent, and would undoubtedly give Scott all the trouble he could handle. Pickeringís career has had major setbacks at critical times, losing to Jon Jo Irwin for the vacant British Bantamweight title back in 1998, being demolished inside one round by Mauricio Martinez in 2000 for the WBO Bantamweight title and the losing a split decision verdict to Alejandro Monzon, a Spaniard fighting in Spain 2002. Since then he has gone an eight fight winning streak, capturing the Commonwealth, British and European Super Bantamweight titles in that time. Scott on the other hand appears to have reached his zenith. A loss to Manuel Medina, a draw with Victor Polo and a farce against Samuel Kebede have all made negative impacts on Scottís career. He has however had a good victory over William Abelyan and his last fight against Michael Brodie was fantastic, but after having a superb first round, he struggled in the second and third, being backed up by a fighter who was perceived to be shot after a hard career, culminating in two wars against Injin Chi. The victory over Abelyan and the body punch that finished Brodie were excellent, but in a strange sort of way, all they seems to have done is to paper over the cracks that seem to be appearing more and more often in Scottís performances.

Pickering isnít a shot fighter. He is a good boxer with decent skills. He has decent footwork, good hand speed and is in short, and the kind of fighter Scott seems to have trouble against. On the other hand, Scott may well get himself up for this fight and do the same kind of number on Pickering as he did on Abelyan. That is the beauty of boxing, anything is possible.

If Pickering comes through his October the 28th fight against Michael Hunter with his belts intact, it would be good to see him get his chance at Scott Harrison. He would argue that it is long overdue, and we would find out just how much Scott does or doesnít have left.

Article posted on 09.09.2005

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