Baltimore's Harris aims to upset Jones Title bout heads HBO tripleheader

December 05, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Baltimore middleweight contender Percy Harris looks in th full-length mirror in his hotel room and sees the reflection of Buster Douglas.

No, not the bloated, under-trained Douglas whom Evander Holyfield left stretched out on the canvas in Las Vegas to win the heavyweight crown two years ago, but the 40-1 long shot who stunned the boxing world by upsetting previously unbeaten Mike Tyson in Tokyo the previous winter to claim the heavyweight crown.

"That's how I see myself against Roy Jones," said Harris (15-3, 9 KOs), who tonight challenges Jones (19-0, 18 KOs), the flashy puncher who has been labeled by boxing critics as the next Sugar Ray Leonard.

The Jones-Harris 12-round bout for the World Boxing Council Intercontinental title is part of an HBO tripleheader at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City that also features International Boxing Federation middleweight king James Toney against Doug DeWitt, and IBF super-middleweight champion Iran Barkley against unranked Robert Folley in non-title bouts.

"I figure Jones will be overconfident against me the same way Tyson was caught looking past Douglas," said Harris. "But for me, this is the fight of my life. It's not only my biggest pay day [$75,000], but also a chance to become an overnight success."

Harris, who turned 29 last week, realizes he will not be given too many more opportunities to move into boxing's million-dollar class or to position himself for a world-title shot.

He first gained national notoriety a year ago when he took a fight with then-undefeated Thomas Tate on a few day's notice, and won the 160-pound Intercontinental title.

Harris had an opportunity to defend his crown against Juan Medina in Spain this summer, but, instead, opted for a more lucrative match at Madison Square Garden against then-unbeaten Lamar Parks.

A superior boxer, Harris chose to slug it out in the late rounds with Parks, a noted knockout puncher. Judged even on the officials' cards going into the 10th and final round, he ran out of steam, and was hammered and ultimately counted out on the ropes.

"I didn't think Parks had been truly tested before I fought him, and I feel the same way about Jones," Harris said. "Sure, Jones has a gaudy record, but he hasn't beaten a guy with a reputation or any real skills."

Harris has been carefully studying tapes of Jones' recent bouts against Ron Amundsen, Jorge Vaca and Glenn Wolfe.

Harris believes he is in far better shape for Jones, ranked No. 2 by the International Boxing Federation, than he was in preparing for Parks.

"The trainers can get me in shape," Harris said. "But when that bell rings, it will be just me and Jones out there, and it's up to me to take care of business."

Facts and figures

Who: Percy Harris (15-3, 9 KOs), Baltimore, vs. Roy Jones (19-0, 18 KOs), Pensacola, Fla., for World Boxing Council Intercontinental middleweight title, 12 rounds.

International Boxing Federation middleweight champion James Toney (32-0-2, 21 KOs), Ann Arbor, Mich., vs. Doug DeWitt (33-7, 5 KOs), Yonkers, N.Y., 10 rounds, non-title bout.

IBF super middleweight champion Iran Barkley (29-7, 17 KOs), New York, vs. Robert Folley (22-5, 12 KOs), Hartford, Conn., 10 rounds, non-title bout.

Where: Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City.

When: Tonight, first preliminary bout, 8.

Tickets: $100, $50 and $25. Call (609) 449-5145 or Ticketmaster 1-800 736-1420.

TV: HBO, 10 p.m.

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