“Life is a learning experience and we can only get better for our mistakes. Harris will also learn from this fight and will be back even better. We will be back and Vivian will be a champion again, and soon.”-Emanuel Steward intends to guide Vivian Harris back to the top.
|On June 25, 2005, the chief supporting under-card bout of the Arturo “Thunder” Gatti vs. “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view card featured then WBA light welterweight champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris defending his title against awkward and rugged Colombian Carlos Maussa.|
Harris seemed well on his way to entering the “Who should Ricky “Hitman” Hatton next” sweepstakes. In fact, Vivian’s manager/trainer, the legendary Emanuel Steward, actually recommended to his charge that he take the fight against Maussa, which only paid him $70,000, for the exposure that a Gatti vs. Mayweather card would bring. Exposure was what happened that night, but not the kind that “Manny” was looking for as his charge ate a vicious left hook in the seventh round, and just like that, Harris was no longer a world champion. How could a fighter with as much potential as Vivian Harris, trained by such a legend as Steward, be embarrassed on a world stage so easily?
It is not that he lost, as any fighter can lose at anytime, but it is the way he lost that baffles the mind. Harris looked amateurish at times, and completely ran out of gas after the second round. What went wrong? “Maussa has a strange way of stumbling, fumbling, and falling all over the place and looks hurt all the time. I guess that’s just the type of fighter he is. Vivian, like many fighters who try to make a big impression on a big card like this, came out and, I guess that before I had even gotten off the steps after the first bell, I heard the crowd leap to their feet. It appeared to be as if the guy (Maussa) was hurt to me and to everyone. Vivian went all out and tried to finish him off, but it didn’t happen. When he came back to the corner, Vivian was pretty much exhausted. I tried to tell him that it seems like this guy doesn’t get hurt every time that he thinks he is, and that was just his (Maussa’s) body movement. There was a lot of confusion as the other two guys in the corner were also talking, so when the second round started, Vivian really did not get any instructions. He picked up were he left off, so after those first two rounds, he was completely and totally exhausted,” said Emanuel Steward via cell phone from his office at the Kronk Boxing Gym in Detroit, Michigan.
Most of the media has pegged “Vicious” as a fighter with solid skills, but one who lets his emotions get the best of him. Harris is his own worst enemy and tends to march to the beat of a different drum. Steward had this to say about those observations. “Vivian is a very good fighter, and like most good fighters, he is high-strung, and that can sometimes be detrimental. It’s a hard thing because that is something that also makes him a good fighter. It was very unfortunate in this case because he trained extremely hard for the fight. We had a little bit of problems with him the last two weeks leading up to the fight because he was going all the time and we were trying to pull him back. Vivian came out to make a statement and Maussa was able to get him wrapped up into the type of fight that he fought because Maussa appeared to be very slow and very awkward. I was watching him (Maussa) very closely and I could see Carlos throw a very long, slow right hand, and Vivian would roll the punch and make him miss. Vivian would come back with a long left hook, but would miss because Maussa was so awkward and would bend out of position. I tried to tell Vivian as much, but he was already caught fighting another fight and couldn’t get out of it.”
During the fight, “Manny” continuously told his charge to throw a short-counter left hook after that long right hand, and that would seal the fight for him, but round after round, Vivian would not follow his corner’s advice. It is almost inconceivable to think that a pugilist would actually fail to listen to a legend like Steward, who has cultivated and trained many world champions including legends like Thomas “Hitman” Hearns but apparently, it is not uncommon. “Naturally, it’s easy to say things when you come in with a lot of experience like I’ve had in lots of fights. You try to come in and implement a lot of your techniques and teachings, but sometimes it is very difficult when fighters are used to doing things a certain way, especially when they have been successful. You can tell them that they don’t need to do something, and often fighters will tell you, “Hey I’ve been following this routine for a long time, and have had a lot of success.’
“Fighters will usually continue to do what they have always done until something goes wrong. In the case when I got involved with Lennox Lewis, it was very easy because Lennox had lost his last fight and was very receptive to everything that I told him, so we never had those fallouts. Even with Thomas Hearns, in that first super-fight against Ray Leonard, I had been with Thomas since he was ten-years-old and we had never had any disagreements. For that first Leonard fight, we did have disagreements. Thomas was running in the mornings and running again in the evening because he had all this nervous energy since it was his first big super-fight. I told him he needed to slow down, but he kept doing it anyway. We learned from that fight, and did not have any problems after that. Life is a learning experience and we can only get better for our mistakes. Harris will also learn from this fight and will be back even better. We will be back and Vivian will be a champion again, and soon.”
Although Steward has had a rough run in the past few years since Lewis retired, you cannot discount his assessment that Harris will be a better fighter after this loss. Only time will tell if “Manny” still has the magic to bring us another great champion. We remember legends for how great they were, but Steward is working on reminding us of how great he still can be.
Tune in to the next edition of the “TKO Boxing Show” as one of the special guests will be Emanuel Steward himself. He provides the greatest fans in the world with some assessments of his heavyweight charge Wladimir Klitschko, and gives us his prediction for the Hopkins vs. Taylor fight.
Check out Emanuel Stewards Official Site... www.kronkgym.com
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