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Harris collapses but apparently OK

14
Aug

TUCSON – Former junior-welterweight champion Vivian Harris’ debut as a Golden Boy Promotions fighter came to a scary end Friday night when he was strapped to a gurney and carried out of the ring following a head butt with Noe Bolanos in the second round of an ESPN2-televised bout at Desert Diamond Casino.

Harris, who once held the WBA title, was placed in an ambulance and taken to University Medical Center, about a 30-minute drive north of the casino.

Ringside physician Lawrence D’Antonio said Harris was hospitalized as a precautionary measure.

“He was awake, alert and clear-eyed,” Di’Antonio said. “He was complaining of serious pain in his head and his legs were wobbling.”

Harris, who signed with Golden Boy nearly 10 days ago, collapsed along the ropes about 90 seconds after a clash of heads with Bolanos.

Harrris ducked in as he attempted to throw a right hand and the right side of his temple collided with Bolanos' head one minute into the second round of the fight, which was declared no-contest.

Harris (29-3-1, 19 KOS) went to one knee, got up and complained to referee Bobby Ferrara about the butt as he walked toward his corner. When he got to the ropes he collapsed. D’Antoni said the bump to Harris temple caused a delayed reaction. From a ringside seat, Harris could be heard saying “What happened?”

He had his head propped up on the lowest of the ring’s four ropes before paramedics placed him on gurney, where his head and legs were immobilized by tape.

D’Antoni said about an hour after the bout that he did not know whether Harris would be held over night at the Tucson hospital for observation. Robert Diaz of Golden Boy Promotions said that Harris got off the gurney and got dressed in his dressing room before he got into the ambulance.

“He was a little wobbly,” Diaz said.

Bolanos said through an interpreter that he was surprised to see Harris collapse after the head butt, which did not result in a cut for either fighter.

“I wasn’t hurt by it,” said Bolanos (20-4-1, 11 KOs), a Mexican who trains in Phoenix.

Bolanos rocked Harris with a succession of body shots in the closing seconds of the first round, although all three judges scored the round in favor of Harris.

“He just didn’t want any more of those body shots,” Bolanos cornerman Juan Mendoza said. “He knocked himself out. My boy is just too strong for that dude. That’s the bottom line.”

Golden Boy announced on Aug. 4 that it had signed Harris, 30, who is from Guyana and calls Brooklyn, N.Y., home. Gary Shaw released him form a promotional contract in June.

Harris, who said he wanted to get back into the junior-welterweight’s championship mix, last fought in October 2008, his first bout since losing in September of 2008 to Junior Witter for the World Boxing Council’s version of the 140-pound title. Witter knocked him out with one shot in the seventh round in Yorkshire, England.

Best of the undercard: Former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell (13-0-1, 8KOs) scored the night’s biggest knockout, a first-round stoppage of heavyweight Andrae Carthron (3-3-2, 1 KO) of Los Angeles; Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder (7-0, 7 KOs) kept his knockout record perfect with a first-round stoppage of heavyweight Travis Allen (4-4, 3 KOS)of Atchison, Kan, and welterweight Keith Thurman (10-0, 10 KOs) of Clearwater, Fla., embellished his prospect credentials with another first-round KO, a quick stoppage of Travis Hartman (10-14-1, 7 KOs) of St. Joseph, Mo.

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