Scott Harrison comes out for the first round and immediately goes looking for the challenger with typical pugnacity. Without giving the Ethiopian time to settle, or the fans for that matter, Harrison floors Kebede with a right to the top of the head. I and, no doubt, the rest of the viewing public look on in disbelief. And with that first knockdown, Alex Arthur - Michael Kizza comes to mind. Kebede scrambles to his feet, taking the obligatory 8 count before collapsing in a heap in the midst of dodging another Harrison salvo. It is judged a slip, rightly, by referee Micky Vann; however, the challenger’s respite is short lived, as he tastes the canvas for the second time, this time going down from a much cleaner right hook to the top of the head. Kebede slumps forward, again taking the 8 count. Still looking shaky as he gets to his feet, Kebede is stopped and suffers the first loss of his career.
Although disappointing as a spectacle, there appears to be no foul play, just a mismatch of elephantine proportions. A lot of people questioned why Kebede was in the ring with Harrison to begin with. But at first glance Kebede has a spotless record. Indeed, he has a better record than Harrison, albeit against lesser competition.
Scott said afterwards, “It’s better to finish a fight in the first minute of a fight than taking twelve rounds. They said I was too quick but that’s nothing to do with me. I’ll be ringside for the Barrera vs. Morales fightâ€¦. I want Barrera.”
Frank Maloney said, “He was a top guy with the WBO, so you should ask them why he’s in the ring with Scott. The boo’s aren’t for Scott. If Scott hits anyone, they’re going down like that. Scott should get a unification fight in the New Year. Brodie was offered this fight and turned it down. If Michael Brodie wants to fight, Jack Trickett has our phone number. Scott beat the guy put in front of him.”
The WBO supervisor said, “My job is to report to the board that he wasn’t up for the job. He looked hurt to me and his legs went stiff. Micky Vann was right to stop the fight, so I don’t want to take purses away. He was the WBO number five so I think we need to look into that.”
Johnny Nelson said, “Scott did what was asked of him and I feel sorry for him. They were worlds apart.”
Barry McGuigan said, “I feel sorry for the crowd. We are gonna get booed when we leave.”
Samuel Kebede was interviewed an hour later and said, "I couldn’t understand why it was stopped. The ref said walk forward and I did. It was my dream and I came to win."
James Macdonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org