Much more than his title belt will be on line Saturday night, July 16 when USBA Heavyweight Champion Maurice “Sugar Moe” Harris makes his first defense against Derric“The Shaolin Fist” Rossy at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Harris needs to erase the memories of his last fight in order to keep his roller coaster-like career alive.
Harris (24-15-2, 10 KOs) was stopped in the third round by Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs) in May, live on ESPN Friday Night Fights in their IBF Box-Off.
“I was used to taking last minute fights and didn’t know how to handle two months of training for that fight,” Harris said.“I left it in the gym and on the roads running. That wasn’t me. I wanted to look so good fighting on television for my family and those supporting me. I put too much pressure on myself.
"I take nothing away from Tony Thompson. I respect him and he was the better man that night, but he was fouling (rabbit punches) me throughout the fight. No excuses, though, I blame myself. I’m a man. I know I need to focus on the task at hand and not worry about my last fight.”
The 35-year-old Harris, winner of the 2002 Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament, has defeated world champions (Sergei Liakhovich) and challengers but he’s also lost to several club fighters during his up-and-down career.
“I was so confident Maurice would beat Thompson that I would have bet my house,” Harris’ promoter (Boxing 360 CEO/Founder) Mario Yagobi remarked. "His last fight was a fluke. Maurice was hit behind the head so many times that he had double, even triple vision. Otherwise he would have been able to have a much better performance. I know how talented he is and I believe in him.”
“No way Derrick Rossy beats Maurice, but he also needs to come back strong to show people that this is the real Moe, not the fighter people saw in his last fight. Maurice has it all over Rossy: boxing IQ and experience. He’s motivated because he needs to win. . His boxing career is at stake. There’s no place for him to go if he doesn’t win.”
Rossy (25-4, 14 KOs), rated No. 15 by the WBA, was a standout college football player at Boston College. He also lost in this year’s IBF Box-Off to Eddie Chambers by 12-round decision. His most significant victories have been versus former WBO champion and 1988 Olympic gold-medal winner Ray Mercer (DEC12) and world title challenger Carl David Drummond (DEC10)
“Rossy is a good fighter and it should be an interesting fight,” IBF No. 8 rated Harris commented. “I know he’s inexperienced – he’s been fighting six years and I’ve been doing this for 20 –and he makes a lot of mistakes. I need to beat him to get back where I was. He’s in my way and I don’t plan on giving up my belt.''