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Forgotten Warriors: Victor Polo

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  • Forgotten Warriors: Victor Polo

    This Colombian-born and Vegas-based featherweight perfectly fits the term "the nearly man". He has fought for a world title five times, and in only one of those fights was the outcome fair. Polo was a top contender at the turn of the century and was only stopped once as a pro, very early on. Like most other Colombian fighters, he possessed punching power but also was a cagey and active fighter who often outworked his opponents to win (those he didn't stop, that is). He retired with a record of 5 losses, but only the first and the last were truly undisputed. He has faced some of the best featherweights of that time, like Juan Manuel Marquez, Scott Harrison, Manuel Medina and Derrick Gainer, and only Marquez really dominated him, but by that time Polo was almost 35 and no longer at his best. This is the story of the unfortunate contender, Victor Polo.

    Born Victor Elias Polo, 22 July 1970 in Bolivar, Colombia, Polo stands 5'9 and has a reach of 74 inches and thus was physically very tall and rangy for a featherweight. He started as a pro in late 1990, winning his first fight by TKO2. He drew against Luis Murillo in his third fight and then in the fifth he lost for the first time by KO5 to Moises Pedroza, then 6-0. This would remain his only ko loss, as mentioned. He won the WBC Fecarbox title by UD12 against Rafael Zuniga in 1994 and defended it by TKO5 against Edgar Monserrat next year. He also won the minor IBF Inter-Continental title by KO9 against Roberto Apolinario Godoy in 1996 but soon vacated it. He didn't fight for 14 months when he had his first fight in USA, which was for the IBF title and against champion Manuel Medina, a very slick and clever Mexican. It was 16 April '99 at Orleans Hotel & Casino in Vegas that Polo first showed his worth when he gave Medina a tougher fight than expected, but Polo got penalised for a low blow once and Medina developed a bad cut after an accidental headbutt, which led to fight going to the scorecards after 9 rounds. Judge Dalby Shirley had Polo ahead by 86-84 but the other two judges scored it for the champion and so, Polo left the hotel without a belt. On 22 January next year, he annihilated the very solid William Abelyan by TKO1 in his first true success. After decisioning Fernando Velardez by UD6, he faced the 21-0 Angel Vazquez for the NABA title in a fight which was also an eliminator for the WBA title, 20 October 2000 at The Roxy in Boston. Polo decisively beat Vazquez by UD12 and took the belt from Vazquez, who was making his first defense of it. He then got his chance to win the WBA belt in a fight against Derrick Gainer, who had rather recently become the champion by stopping Freddie Norwood in a controversial way and was making his first defense. It was 24 February 2001 at Ice Palace, Tampa, which favored the Florida-born and bred Gainer. Like Polo, Gainer also stood 5'9 but Polo had a 2-inch reach advantage. After the 12 rounds were completed, the scores were 115-112 Gainer, 114-113 Polo and 118-109 Gainer. Harold Lederman also had Gainer comfortably ahead by 117-111, despite the fact that the compubox statistics showed Polo outlanding Gainer with 268 punches to 200! Gainer however connected at a higher percentage and was fighting at home, so no rematch was mandated.

    After this second disappointment, Polo beat David Toledo, a fringe contender, by UD12 to win the IBF Inter-Continental title once again. He would then get even unluckier when he fought Julio Pablo Chacon, the WBO-champion from Argentina, at York Hall in Bethnal Green on 19 January '02. Polo knocked Chacon down in round 4 but in round 9 he slipped on a towel and the blind referee scored it as a knockdown. This point loss turned the fight result from a draw to a split decision loss for Polo, yet another one. He went back to fighting in Colombia on national level for a while, scoring 7 wins. He came back to UK but this time to Glasgow, to fight their favorite fighter and the new WBO champion Scott Harrison at Braehead Arena on 28 January '05. The fight ended as a draw but, according to most accounts, the decision was a controversial one and Polo deserved to get it-one judge did indeed give him the victory-the British judge, ironically. This was the end of his prime and Polo had one more big fight, the biggest one in his career, only 2 months before turning 35. His opponent was Juan Manuel Marquez, the unified WBA and IBF champion, who had taken the WBA belt from Gainer and the IBF belt from Medina. It was 7 May, the same card where the legendary Corrales-Castillo fight took place, Mandalay Bay, and Marquez, younger by 3 years, dominated the fight and Polo touched the canvas in round 7 after a big right cross from Marquez, making it one of the few times he was down for real. He lost by the scores of 119-108, 120-107 and 118-109. Having failed for the fifth time to take the big one, Polo saw no better option but to retire. His record is 37 wins with 26 ko's, 5 losses and 3 draws.

    Victor Polo was and is one of the prime examples of how unjustly the South American boxers were sometimes treated in USA and UK, in world-class boxing establishment in general. Guys like him had to fight their soul and heart out and even then didn't always get their due. Few today know about him or recognize his name. Which is pretty sad. Here is to you, Victor Polo, the forgotten warrior and the nearly man!

  • #2
    --- Speaking of, when you gonna do one on Scott Hairy'sSon?

    That's a hairy, juicy one!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- Speaking of, when you gonna do one on Scott Hairy'sSon?

      That's a hairy, juicy one!
      I will, no sweat. When I get in the mood, lol.

      Comment

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