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Victor Polo-The Eternal Challenger


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I must admit, I made one mistake not too long ago-I was thinking of this man when I created the thread about Oscar Leon. Because, if anybody in this sport deserves the moniker of The Unluckiest Man in Boxing, it is Victor Polo. In 4 of his 5 world title bouts, Polo lost because of either unfair judging (had one draw) or simply bad luck. Only his last attempt against Juan Manuel Marquez, when he was obviously past his best, was a case of him getting dominated and beaten fairly. Victor Polo was a very tall featherweight at 5'9 (175 cm) and also had/has a big reach of 74 inches or 188 cm. He was a very capable fighter, able at inside fighting as well as boxing, and had a decent punch. 

Polo was born on 22 July 1970 in Bolivar, Colombia. He debuted as a pro in late 1990 and won his first fight by TKO2. He was knocked out by Moises Pedroza, then 6-0, in 5 rounds on 21 February 1992 in Colombia. He then went on an unbeaten streak with 20 wins and 1 draw, also winning the WBC Fecarbox title and the IBF Inter-Continental title along the way. In his first fight outside Colombia, he took on the superb Mexican technician and the IBF-champion Manuel Medina, 16 April 1999 at Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Polo was penalized for a low blow in round 3 and Medina got badly cut by an accidental headbutt which led to a stoppage after round 9. Dalby Shirley had Polo ahead by 86-84, while Bill Graham had it 87-83 and Dave Moretti 86-84 for Medina-thus, Medina retained his title after a hard fight by SD.

Polo returned to USA to fight the promising William Abelyan, a fast Armenian fighter who would defeat Orlando Salido, Guty Espadas and Jesus Salud. It was on 22 January 2000 in Del Mar, CA, that Polo produced his first big victory by stopping Abelyan by a TKO1. Later that year, on 20 October, he also won the NABA title by decisioning 21-0 Angel Vazquez by UD. It was also a WBA-eliminator and he then went on to fight the reigning champion at the time, Derrick "Smoke" Gainer, who was as tall as he and a good technician with a solid punch. The fight was held in Tampa, Gainer's home state Florida and Polo outlanded the champion with 268 punches to 200, yet somehow was denied the victory by two of the judges, one that even had Gainer ahead by 118-109! Simply a case of home judging, but it wouldn't be the last such disappointment for Polo. 

After winning the IBF Inter-Continental title by UD against David Toledo in 2001, on 19 January next year he fought the WBO champion Julio Pablo Chacon of Argentina at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London. In his worst case of bad luck yet, he had Chacon down in round 4, but slipped on a towel and the crazy referee scored it a knockdown in round 9. That ended up costing him the victory, as he lost by a razor-tnin split decision. He went back to fighting in Colombia for a while and won 7 fights, before going to Scotland to fight their WBO champion, the new one, Scott Harrison. The fight happened on 28 January 2005 at Braehead Arena in Glasgow and Polo gave Harrison his hardest fight as a champion, only to be denied the victory in a controversial split draw. That was the final straw.

Polo would chase that world title for the fifth and last time on 7 May that year, against Juan Manuel Marquez, who was the unified IBF and WBA Super champion. Polo's glove touched the canvas in round 7 after a Marquez right cross and it was ruled a knockdown. Polo finished the fight but was simply outclassed, but got a couple rounds by one judge and one by the other. He had simply spent himself by now and was fighting a future legend. Obviously seeing championship glory was not meant for him, he retired at the age of 35. His record is 37 wins, 5 losses and 3 draws, with 26 ko's. He is currently living in Las Vegas, at least officially. 

Polo was a guy that was the perfect example of a South American fighter: hard to fight, always bringing it in the ring and never treated well by the establishment, especially the judges. Because of his height and reach he was also difficult to fight for most featherweights, which were significantly shorter. Being a southpaw made him furthermore a tough opponent and one that many orthodox fighters would avoid. 



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