After seven years out of boxing, former featherweight world champion Scott Harrison has returned to the ring this year with a pair of fairly unimpressive victories, his most recent on September 22 in Glasgow, on the Ricky Burns vs Kevin Mitchell undercard.
Talk of a money-grabbing matchup with fellow Scot and current WBO lightweight champion Burns, who stopped Mitchell in four, was batted around quite a bit before and after the fights, and frankly, most just expected that the cash-out fight would be next for both of them.
Recently, WBO President Paco Valcarcel stated that Burns would not be allowed to fight Harrison - not while keeping his title belt, anyway. But Harrison's father and trainer, Peter, tells the Rutherglen Reformer that his son is ready for Burns, and they're pushing hard for the fight.
"You have got to remember who Scott has boxed in the past, the likes of [Manuel] Medina and [Wayne McCullough], they are top-class fighters, so why does Scott have to wait? How long does he have to keep boxing to get experience? He doesn’t need experience, he has plenty of it. We want a championship fight, so yes, it is frustrating.
"Burns has never fought anyone of the calibre Scott has. Good on him, he’s doing well and getting better with every fight but he’s not fighting in the same league as Scott has."
What you really have got to remember is that Harrison fought Medina and McCullough in 2003, nearly a decade ago, and what can amount to a lifetime in boxing. Harrison, now 35, has been far out of the game. His two wins this year over Gyorgy Mizsei Jr and Joe Elfidh just do not quality him for a world title shot.
What does qualify him, though, is possible (or probable) fan interest in the fight in Scotland. In a sports business where money rules everything, with nothing else even a close second, Harrison is every bit as qualified a challenger as past Burns world title opponents like Andreas Evensen, Joseph Laryea, and the broken down shell of Nicky Cook, who challenged for Burns' old WBO super featherweight title over three straight fights.
Add in the fact that the WBO is insisting Burns face a mandatory challenger, while their No. 1-ranked contender Adrien Broner is focusing on finalizing a November 17 fight with WBC champion Antonio DeMarco, and really, you just might have a recipe for Burns-Harrison to got through for December, no matter what the WBO has said.
To be entirely clear, I know this isn't a fight very many people want to see, and I don't particularly want to see it either. But worse world title fights happen all the time, fights which nobody has asked for, let alone a sizable domestic fan base that will pay money to see it, even if they know that Harrison is not who he used to be, and that Burns would be an enormous favorite to hardly break a sweat en route to victory.
So in a sense, Burns-Harrison may as well just happen. Chances are it would get molded into "legitimacy" soon enough anyway, when the WBO sees fit to rank Harrison as a top 15 contender, so we might as well just do it now. Harrison likely won't get any more ready - he's not going to risk a potential big money fight like this by taking a serious test beforehand and risking defeat, and I think we can all agree that the fight basically seems inevitable. It's easy money for Warren, enough people will want to see it happen, and the underdog is a very willing participant. Get it over with, I say.