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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Thoughts on Manuel Medina
By Paul Concannon

Well, I fully expected to be sitting here writing a piece about Scott Harrison. I had only written to US columnist "Bad" Brad Berkwitt a few days ago saying that the 25 year old Scotsman, then the WBO featherweight champion, had real star potential.

I was impressed by his Marvin Hagler-like rock solidity and a take-on-all-comers approach to the sport.  He had beaten 5 former world champions and a slew of decent British and Commonwealth level opposition.  In his previous two outings, Juan Pablo Chacon and Wayne McCullough had been trounced in 'World' title bouts.  The aggressive, hard-punching and granite jawed Glaswegian did everything well, so it seemed.  When it was announced that he would be fighting 4-time former champion Manuel Medina in the second defense of his title on Saturday, I was convinced it wasn't even a good match; the wily old Mexican had taking a thumping against JM Marquez in an IBF title bout back in April and at 32 his best days seemed behind him.

How wrong I was! Saturday proved that, once again, one could never count out funky old Medina!  Boxing in an almost hypnotic herky-jerky style the light punching Mexican danced a thousand waltzes around the bemused champion and deservedly copped a split decision after 12 rounds.  We had seen Medina bounce off the canvas three-times each against Prince Naseem Hamed and Paul Ingle in previous title bouts in the UK; the rational was that Scott would be able to repeat the trick yet even on the occasions that he got through with something heavy, the old champ would simply take flight and keep nagging away with his constant rat-a-tat attacks.  It was a performance to savior and one that makes Medina a record breaking 5-time featherweight champion. 

As surprised as I was, I was also utterly delighted for the Mexican who will, for my money, join the ranks of the great Mexican featherweights.  Sure he will never be as solid as Salvador Sanchez, as hard-punching as Ruben Olivares, as exciting as Vincente Salvidar or even as prolific as current compatriot Marco Antonio Barerra, but for shear persistence, he beats the lot of them. Every time you think he is finished he bounces back like a rubber ball.

Let's just remind ourselves of how many times it has looked all over for the lanky Tijuana hombre…

1993: Loses his IBF title to former victim Tom Johnson then up at super-feather he loses out to Juan Molina shortly afterwards. Surely he has nowhere to go? Yet he beats Jose Luis Martinez for the NABF title the following year to get right back into contention.

1995:  Drops a hard-fought decision to Johnson for the IBF title and goes 2-1 down in their series, this must be the end, right?  Wrong, the tricky veteran shocks rising star Alejandro Gonzalez for the WBC title later in September on a tight verdict.  His reign is brief-Luisito Espinosa will take the title in November via a controversial decision.

1996: This year he is stopped by Naseem Hamed in the eleventh round of a brilliant battle.  Down hill all the way…

1997: The Espinosa jinx strikes again this time via a technical nod in Manila. Medina is stopped in nine by Derrick Gainer shortly afterwards.

1998: Back he comes to shock Hector Lizzarraga via a wide verdict for the IBF belt.

1999: After one defense he loses out to Paul Ingle in a punch-a-thon that sees both men down; it's been nice knowing you, Manny.

2001:  He cuts up Frankie Toledo in 6 and once again walks away with the IBF belt!

2002: Drops a bum verdict to Johnny Tapia and loses the title…adios, amigo.

2003:  Crushed by Juan Manual Marquez in seven in what surely is a final swansong! Nope, last Saturday night he took a young Scot to school and did it all again.

Harrison can and will come again; his brave, but one-paced performance is being blamed on a bug and a touch of overactivity, and in truth, he looked a little out of sorts from the off.

Nothing can be taken away from Manual Medina however, a man who surprises us all once again.  Though, looking back at his ability to shrug off bad verdicts, crushing defeats and the all out battles he gave the likes of Hamed, Ingle, Espinosa and Gainer in defeat, is his win really such a surprise?

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Okay fight-fans, let me leave you with a good old sweeping statement to mull over…Vernon Forrest was robbed!  More next week!