By John Gregg
More than 60 years ago there was a world renown Spanish matador named Manolete. The bullfighter had been wounded several times very seriously and he was once asked by the press if he was ever afraid of the bulls?
Manolete explained that the pain from hunger and suffering was far worse than anything he had ever experienced from the horns of the bulls.
Edison "Pantera" Miranda knows all about pain, poverty and fighting to stay alive. Abandoned by his teenage mother as a child in Buenaventura, Colombia, Miranda was constantly forced to battle to find enough scrapes of food to stay alive. Everyday was a grim battle just to keep living.
Miranda's determination and skill in the ring with his fists set him apart in the middleweight division. That talent was on display, when he hammered out a brutal seventh round TKO over Howard "The Battersea Bomber" Eastman, to capture the IBF 160-pound title eliminator, in a fight scheduled for 12 heats.
After jolting the Englishman via New Amsterdam, Guyana, in the 5th, Miranda trapped Eastman in the corner and unloaded a searing volley of wicked shots late in the seventh round. A rocket-like right hand to the chin followed by a scalding left hook to the temple, then two riveting uppercuts snapped Eastman's skull back.
The flurry buckled Eastman's knees, which somehow remained upright, but referee Brian Garry had seen enough and he mercifully waved off the action at 2:33 of the 7th round.
Miranda (26-0, 23 KO's) controlled the action over the first several rounds with a stout left jab against the rangy Eastman (40-4, 34 KO's), who struggled to pull the trigger and let his hands go. At the 1:19 mark of the 3rd, Miranda (159) clipped Eastman, Battersea, England via New Amsterdam, Guyana with a lead left hook to the jaw that caught his opponent flush on the chin. Eastman (159) returned fire and jolted Miranda, 25, with a solid left hook to the jaw with 22-seconds to go in the round.
Miranda, 5'11", continued to press the action on the inside and with 32-seconds remaining in the 5th, he hurt Eastman, 35, with a chopping lead right hand to the chin. Eastman's knees buckled and Miranda followed up with another scalding right cross that rocked the Brit back on his heels and almost sent him to the deck. Eastman's legs did a quick Texas-two-step but he managed to remain vertical.
Miranda drove Eastman in the corner with a series of whistling right hands to the head followed by a volley of shots that again rocked the Englishman back on his heels but he managed to survive the round on rubbery legs.
Eastman had never been stopped going into the IBF eliminator and he was still a very dangerous boxer. With 1:02 to go in the 6th, he tattooed Miranda with a hammering right cross to the jaw that hurt the Colombian.
Eastman, 5'11 ½", nailed Miranda again with a blistering right hand to the head to end the round that for a moment short-circuited the South American's balance and sent him careening back across the ring.
--End Of The Evening--
Nevertheless, the powerfully built Miranda kept throwing bombs and he caught up with the Englishman in the seventh round. At the 2:15 mark of the 7th, Miranda drilled Eastman with a leaping left hook to the jaw that landed square.
Both men continued to score in close quarters but Miranda was relentless and with little more than a minute to go in the round, he hurt Eastman with three short right hands to the head. Eastman attempted to cover but Miranda opened up with a remorseless volley of punches that pinned the Englishman against the ropes unable to return fire.
With 49-seconds to go in the 7th, and Eastman still trapped in the corner, Miranda connected with another punishing flurry of hammering lefts and jolting right hands to the head. Miranda continued to batter his opponent and seconds later, he hurt Eastman with a clean right cross to the jaw followed by a brutal left uppercut and then a scalding right uppercut that nailed the Englishman just under the chin.
For a moment Eastman's head looked like it was on a swivel as it snapped back and forth from Miranda's savage shots. Eastman's legs turned to jelly and he leaned back against the ropes, however, the referee Garry quickly pulled Miranda away from his opponent and waved off the contest.
With the fans standing and screaming their approval, Miranda celebrated the sudden and violent conclusion to the bout. It was Eastman's first career knockout loss and the undefeated prospect Miranda was now the mandatory challenger to IBF champion Arthur Abraham.
On this night, just like the bullfighter Manolete before him; Edison Miranda had survived and was victorious. For a glorious 21 minutes, life was sweet and all dreams seemed possible.
Undercard: Hard hitting cruiserweight Felix Cora Jr. (18-0-2, 9 KO's) kept his perfect record intact and scored a dominating ten round unanimous decision over outclassed Darnell "Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson (18-4-3, 15 KO's). The southpaw Cora (194 ½) controlled the scoring from the outset with stiff right jabs and punishing left hands down the middle that forced Wilson (198 ¾) to repeatedly give ground. At the end of the 4th, the muscular Wilson, Takoma Park, Maryland landed a wicked left hook that jolted Cora, however, the Galveston, Texas fighter rallied and won almost every exchange between the two bangers. Cora went on to post a commanding victory on all three cards, 99-91, 99-91, and 99-91.