There was a scary scene at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona on Friday Night Fights. An accidental clash of heads in the second round severely affected Vivian Harris and he was unable to continue in the main event against Noe Bolanos. Harris took a head butt to the left side of his head forty seconds into the second, on the temple, as he and Bolanos both came forward looking to land. He then crumpled into his corner, with his eyes closed, and wasn’t responsive for over a minute as the ring doctor tended to him. He came to, but the whole building and fans watching were gravely concerned for the boxer. The emergency medical techs strapped him to a stretcher, immobilized, and he was then taken to a local hospital. His eyes were opened, but he didn’t seem to be fully responsive in the ring before he was taken to the facility, though the announcers said he was coversing with people and could move his limbs. Viewers were happy to see him sitting on a stool in his dressing room fifteen minutes after the head butt, so seemingly his reactions to on-site neuro tests were normal. We then saw him walking around, and hugging his young daughter. Ring doctor Lawrence D'Antonio said Harris would go to a hospital, in an interview with announcers Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. Lord knows I am a mere layman, but I was hoping Harris would be taken right to the hospital, because his reaction to the head clash was atypically severe. “We take injuries very seriously,” the doctor said. OK, then, what say we put Harris in the ambulance, and step on the gas, shall we?
Harris (age 31; based in NY, from Guyana; 29-3-1; 141 1/2) is a former junior welterweight champion. Bolanos (age 22; from Arizona; 20-4-1; 139 pounds) has recently moved up from junior lightweight.
In the first, we saw an assessment round. Bolanos droped in left hooks to the body close to the bell, and Harris mostly threw single jabs. In the second round, there was the clash of heads, just after Teddy Atlas said Bolanos often leads with his head. The doctor looked at Harris, and ref Bobby Ferrara was going to give him a break. But was actually knocked out, and he fell on his butt in his corner as the doctor asked him, Are you dizzy.. Fans were booing, thinking maybe Harris was looking for a way out. But he then sat in a corner, and the doctor looked and acted concerned as Harris wasn’t very responsive. He opened his eyes, and looked puzzled, like he didn’t recall what had happened. The ref halted the bout almost immediately, and the paramedics came into the ring to watch over Harris.
Some in the crowd booed as the No Contest was announced, somewhat surprisingly, as Harris was being carted off by paramedics. What idiot would boo, and for what reason? Did they think he was faking? Jackasses, bigtime jackasses, who would boo in that situation. Have another beer, morons…
Harris was kayoed by Junior Witter in Sept. 2007, and Carlos Maussa in 2005, both off left hooks. Both times, he was slow to recover after the blow. In his last fight, he was sent to the mat by by Octavio Narvaez in Oct. 2008, before coming on to win a decision.
No one wants to see a man’s vocation taken from him, but it’s looking like Harris should perhaps retire. We cross our fingers for him and will stay on the story.
In the TV opener, Floridian Keith Thurman (10-0, 10 stops) beat sportwriter Travis Hartman (10-14) from Missouri in a welterweight clash. Thurman has a closer’s mindset, or at least he does against guys like Hartman. Hartman has a death-wish mindset. This was the ninth stoppage loss of his 14 defeats. At least his corner has a heart—they threw in a towel in the second round. The time was 1:00 of two.
Deontay Wilder (7-0) of Alabama, a 2008 Olympian who took a bronze medal, put down Missouri’s Travis Allen (3-5) in a heavyweight beef. Wilder, who boasts Mark Breland in his corner, used his strong right hand, and an improving jab. Allen went down after 30 seconds. “These first two fights are atrocious,” said play by play man Joe Tessitore, quite rightly. (He deserves a clap on the back—speaking truth to power is always welcomed in any day and age. And admitting to viewers that the show that his own network is putting on is weak is bold and the sign of a pro, in my eyes.) The end soon after in the first, and basically, this was just a record builder for Wilder, and a waste of time for the people who bought a ticket, and the people watching on the tube. Thumbs down to the promoter, and the producers and the commission for showcasing this mismatch. He should be an off TV guy, bottom line. “I like seeing Deontay Wilder and Keith Thurman on TV, yeah, I’d like to see them against better guys,” Brian Kenny weighed in.
Seth Mitchell (13-0-1) of Maryland met LA’s Andrae Carthron (3-3-2) in a heavyweight fight. Mitch likes to work in close, mostly. He has a nice, fluid right hand, which dropped and stopped Carthron in the first. Micthell is a top 50 heavyweight type. We’ll keep an eye on the former college footballer, who attended Michigan State.
Dan Rafael sat in the studio with Kenny. Big Dan said he was pumped for Pavlik-Williams, and the super middle showdown on Showtime.
Kenny talked about the Sept. 26 Vitali-Arreola matchup. Rafael said Arreola is a “terrific puncher” and thus has a chance. “It’s going to be an exciting fight while it’s going on,” BD said. “This is a big step up,” Kenny said.
Regarding the Oct. 3 Pavlik-Williams scrap, Rafael said HBO wanted this scrap, and made it happen. He thinks Pavlik will likely be the favorite but tons of smart money will veer toward Williams.
“I think we’ll see a decent fight,” said Rafael, of the Jones-Lacy fight, which takes place Saturday. He said Jones would win and Lacy would need to reassess his place or lack thereof in the game.
BD touched on the loaded Sept. 19 Mayweather-Marquez undercard, which holds Chris John-Juarez 2, Escobedo vs. Katsidis, and Zab Judah vs. Antonio Diaz. Rafael made a stellar point—he expects all PPVs to have loaded undercards, but dammit, they should, for that money. I’m with Dan—promoters deserve no great backslaps for doing the right thing. He said that Roger Mayweather will be in the Floyd corner, as of right now, despite more legal concerns for Uncle Rog.
Kenny touched on the release of the “Tyson” doc onto DVD. The DVD is out Aug. 18 and Kenny said he learned new things form the film. You can watch Kenny chat with Tyson and director James Toback here http://sports.espn.go.com/stations/player?id=4392093.