Boxing


Sharkie's Machine: Maussa KO's Vivian Harris!

26.06.05 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Vivian Harris (25-2-1-17 KO's) got out-spirited, then knocked out by Carlos Maussa of Columbia, who improved his record to 19-2-0-17 KO's, while taking the WBA Jr. Welterweight Title in the process. Maussa clocked Harris with a sharp left hook to his jaw that sent him down for the count. Harris got up after 10 and then complained that he beat the count.

Harris started the fight at a furious pace, trying to knock Maussa out in the first round. It proved an expensive strategy. By the midway point of the first round, Harris was winded and getting tagged regularly by the awkward, unorthodox and lanky Maussa, whom Harris must've taken for granted. How you lose your stamina after a minute and 30 seconds is a red flag if ever I saw one.

Harris traded in his boxing skills to be a slugger and try to give a memorable performance in front of the big crowd.. Harris was paid a mere $70,000 to fight on the same stage where Mayweather and Gatti would be paid millions. It was a good investment that Harris wasted by fighting the wrong fight against a guy who had a chin of iron and a style difficult to negotiate.

As the fight progressed and Maussa realized he could take Harris' best shots, he started to toy with Harris and taunt him at every opportunity, always throwing something and always pressing Harris around the ring. Maussa had the superior conditioning and appeared to KNOW that he was going to knock Harris out. Though he took plenty of shots from Harris, Maussa dictated the terms and persistently pressed the action with effective
aggression.

I have seen Harris fight a few times and in the past, I've been impressed with his tenacity and ability to utilize his height. There's lots of room for improvement in his defense though and with super star trainer Emanuel Stewart in his corner, I expected a more efficient boxer/puncher in Harris. I always thought Harris was a bit too wild and open to get KO'd by a smart fighter.

Throughout the fight, Emanuel Stewart constantly implored Harris to box outside more and stop head hunting. He told Harris to use short left hooks and forget about trying to load up with the right hand but Harris did not take his advice and paid a heavy price.

Carlos Maussa has a lot of something-heart, fire, Chutzpa, moxy or whatever you call it, he's got it. Maussa is an exciting new edition to the upper echelon of the Jr. Welter division. The question is, can he last? He is tall, awkward and appears to be off balance as he takes big shots and delivers his own. Emanuel Stewart said he was like a rubber band. Yeah, he's that too. Maussa has a comically menacing look that has to throw his opponents off a bit. Against Harris, his will was tremendous and he has a cocksureness about him that had an affect on Harris.

Maybe Vivian Harris just had a really bad night. Either way, the lesson for Harris came in many layers. For one thing, never underestimate your opponent and stick to what you do best and worry more about what you're doing in the ring instead of trying to impress the fans. If you do what you do best, impressing the fans will come naturally.

The result of this fight further shakes things up. Two new Champions in one night. The month of June has transformed the Jr. Welter division. Now you have Ricky Hatton as the IBF Champ, Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the new WBC Champ. Carlos Maussa is the WBA Champ and Miguel Cotto remains the WBO Champ. I say they all fight each other and pare things down to ONE Champion.

The most intriguing match up of the four has to be Hatton vs. Mayweather. Hatton's a smart fighter who knows how to design a game plan for a tough opponent. His swarming style could cause problems for the ultra talented Mayweather. They could fight in England where the money would be bigger and Hatton would have the crowd on his side. Mayweather doesn't mind being hated by the crowd and loves big paydays. Mayweather suggested a neutral venue-Madison Square Garden in New York. Yeah, that's real neutral Floyd. Neutral would be if they fought in Asia, Australia, South America or some island nation. Hatton makes a good point that fighting in England, they could fight in front of an audience of 60,000 instead of Madison Square Garden or some small American venue where they might sell 20,000 seats. After all, the more money the better, no?

Gatti froze under Mayweather's arsenal of punches. I can't imagine Hatton allowing Mayweather to dictate the pace when Ricky has the stamina of soccer player and proved he can take good shots from the likes of former Champion, Kostya Tszyu.

On paper, Floyd would be the favorite but they don't fight on paper, they fight in a square circle, on canvas, where anything can happen. Hatton is capable of outworking and possibly frustrating Floyd out of his rhythm. Floyd has the speed to land counter punches that Hatton's never tasted before. Hatton has never been knocked out. Floyd has never been knocked out. Hatton is undefeated. Floyd is undefeated. Hatton has a major piece of the Title. Floyd does too. These guys NEED to fight each other.

There is also Miguel Cotto, who is also undefeated and looked brilliant in his last outing against Mohammad Abdulaev, who beat Cotto in the Amateurs. Cotto already has a TKO win over Maussa from when they met in December of 2003. Now that Maussa owns a piece of the Title, a rematch between them might prove interesting. Maussa may opt to defend his title against a soft touch before taking a rematch with Harris, lose the title there and shake things up even more. I love it.

Mayweather vs. Cotto would answer a lot of questions about Cotto, whose a strong puncher-but has a question marks about his chin, as evidenced in his outing with DeMarcus Corley, who almost knocked him out in the third round of their fight last February. Floyd beat up Corley for 12 one-sided rounds.

Cotto is a top quality fighter and though I've criticized him in the past for weighing 157 pounds in defense of his 140-pound title, Cotto is a classy, no non-sense guy that's only getting better. Hatton has hinted that he'd like to fight Cotto because he thinks he matches up best against his style, since Cotto likes to keep a slower pace and, "pinch a breather" during rounds. Hatton would force Cotto to fight every second of every round at close quarters. Hatton is like a Tasmanian devil wearing boxing gloves. Cotto is a cerebral fighter who is really a better boxer than anything else. His power is best realized when he can keep things at a measured pace.

The weakest link is Carlos Maussa, who was lucky that Vivian Harris wasn't 'vicious' enough Saturday night. Harris has a rematch clause with Maussa and he aims to exercise it immediately. Harris could get knocked out again or maybe he wins a questionable decision that puts him back in the final four. The establishment surely sees Harris as more marketable than Maussa, which only makes me root for Maussa even more. But maybe Harris comes back and legitimately dominates Maussa. Only the future will tell. Whoever Maussa fights, it will be fun to watch. I think Mayweather or Hatton would destroy him. Cotto already TKO'd him.

Congratulations to Carlos Maussa, who proved that the best thing about boxing is that you never really know what will happen until two guys step into the ring and duke it out. Since most of these guys fight about once every six months, it looks like we boxing fans are going to have a hell of a Christmas season!

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Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 26.06.2005



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