Scotland’s Scott Harrison, 24-2-2 (24 KOs) easily defended his WBO featherweight belt with a fourth round stoppage of Michael Brodie, 35-3-1 (22 KOs), in Brodie’s hometown of Manchester, England.
The bout, held in the MEN Arena, served as an appetizer to the Kostya Tszyu – Ricky Hatton match to be held tonight in the same ring.
It was Harrison’s fifth defense of his belt since reclaiming it from Manuel Medina in 2003.
Harrison was in control from the outset. He pounded Brodie with a right in the opening round that nearly sent his hapless challenger to the canvas.
Although Brodie had a few good exchanges in rounds two and three, he was never really in the fight.
Harrison continued to swarm Brodie. At the end of round three, Brodie doubled over at the bell in obvious distress from a body punch.
The blueprint was laid for the fourth round and Harrison launched into a body-punching campaign that sent Brodie to the deck where he watched the referee count him out. There was no more fight was left in the man from Manchester.
This fight requires dissecting, just as many alphabet “title” matches do. What did Brodie do to deserve a number five ranking by the WBO?
In Brodie’s previous bout, more than a year ago, he was stunned and knocked out by In Jin Chi for the vacant WBC belt after having fought to a draw when the two first met for the belt.
The knockout loss represented Brodie’s only contest in 2004. His knockout loss to Harrison was his only contest in 2005.
Unfortunately, this is all too common.
Harrison and his handlers are deluding him (or themselves as well) into believing that he is a world-beater. It is true that he is a tough journeyman fighter, perhaps worthy of a top-15 rating.
It is not true that he is in any sense on a par with 126-130 lb. stars such as Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and others.
Let’s face it, he’s slower, doesn’t punch as hard, and is not nearly as skilled as any of the tried-and-true fighters listed above.
While many of the minor alphabet titleholders can fill arenas (though the MEN appeared to have a lot of vacant seats), it is wishful thinking to think they can springboard from fights with the Michael Brodies of the world into real contention.
Multiple unifications are boxing’s only chance to return the prominence not seen since the early 80s.
The diluting effect of the numerous sanctioning bodies, coupled with an extreme reluctance on the part of some promoters to put their “champions” in with anyone who can throw a stiff punch in return, will serve only to keep boxing off the networks and out of the public’s imagination.
Hardcore and casual boxing fans alike know instinctively when they are seeing the best fight the best. Neither Harrison nor Brodie would ever hold a title were it unified consistently. Harrison would be a tough challenger who crowds would cheer even while he is outboxed or out-punched by the more able featherweights and super featherweights of the world.
Harrison now says he wants unification match. Great. The sooner the better. Hopefully his promoter doesn’t come across a “breakdown in negotiations” that is all too common when talk of unification moves from talk to actually taking place.
Fans and pundits alike must continue to push hard for the best to meet the best.
I have a feeling that if June 3rd's bout had been for the one true featherweight title, the MEN Arena would have been filled to capacity and it would have been a pay-per-view extravaganza.