Baltimore's Harris stopped cold in WBC title bout Jones triumphs with 4th-round KO

December 06, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Percy Harris' heart proved bigger than TTC his ambition last night.

The Baltimore boxer was floored four times and finally stopped by unbeaten title contender Roy Jones in the fourth round of their scheduled 12-round match for the World Boxing Council Continental Americas super-middleweight title.

Harris, 29, ranked seventh in the world by the International Boxing Federation, was dropped in the opening seconds of the match and never really had a chance to recover against the stylish, heavy-fisted Jones, who boosted his record to 20-0, including 19 knockouts.

Jones, 23, of Pensacola, Fla., continued to pummel his taller foe, registering another knockdown in the first and flooring Harris (15-4) in the second before finishing the job with a five-punch barrage just before the bell ended the fourth round.

Referee Tony Orlando ended the fight without bothering to count.

Later, IBF super-middleweight champion Iran Barkley (30-7, 19 KOs), who is scheduled to defend his 165-pound crown against IBF middleweight champion James Toney on Feb. 13, needed less than four rounds to defeat overmatched Robert Folley (22-6) of Hartford, Conn., in a non-title fight.

The Bronx, N.Y., boxer dominated the first three rounds before knocking out Folley with a jolting right at 48 seconds of the fourth round.

Toney completed the string of knockouts in the Home Boxing Office tripleheader at the Trump Taj Mahal when Doug DeWitt failed to answer the bell for Round 7 of their scheduled 10-round non-title bout.

Toney, from Ann Arbor, Mich, won all six rounds decisively to boost his record to 33-0-2, with 22 KOs. DeWitt, from Yonkers, N.Y., fell to 33-8-6.

Jones did little to discredit promoter Bob Arum's claim that he will be "the next Sugar Ray Leonard." Harris was considered Jones' toughest test as a professional, and he passed it with flying colors.

"I thought Roy was going to run at the start," said Harris, sporting welts all over his face. "But he didn't run. He came to fight, to show his speed, strength and quick hands."

Jones did all that and more, dominating from the opening seconds when his booming hook sent Harris flying to the canvas.

"He caught me square with that first good shot and I never got my rhythm back," Harris said. "That first knockdown gave him encouragement and the momentum to finish the job. It wasn't his speed that bothered me, but his power in both hands. Getting knocked down too many times isn't good for anyone."

Ranked No. 2 by the International Boxing Federation, Jones said he would not necessarily wait on a match with Toney.

"I'll fight [WBC champion] Hulian Jackson or [WBA champion] Reggie Johnson," he said. "It makes no difference."

Harris, who has been stopped in his past two fights, is not about to quit. His new manager, Zack Turner, is arranging a match in England against World Boxing Organization champion Chris Eubanks.

Harris, 163 pounds, had not fought since he was stopped by Lamar Parks in the 10th and final round of their Madison Square Garden bout last April.

He had been booked to appear on the first pro boxing card in Beijing, China, this fall, but financial problems canceled it, and Harris jumped at the chance to fight Jones.

Jones, 164 pounds, who gained international attention when he was victimized by ring officials at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, losing a controversial decision to a South Korean boxer, had won his first 19 professional bouts with little difficulty.

Last month, Jones signed a three-fight, multi-million promotional deal with Arum, president of Top Rank, Inc., who promised him a championship match in the near future.

Jones had cut ties with his father, Roy, Sr., who had served as his manager and trainer. He now is trained by Alton Merkerson, a former Olympic boxing coach.

Jones' first punch, a hook, shook Harris, and the next, a hard right cross, dropped Harris in mid-ring. But he bounced up quickly, taking a mandatory eight-count.

Jones continued to pummel him, landing several staggering rights that sent the rubber-legged Harris flying across the ring. Another booming right cross decked Harris.

This time, he was clearly in danger as he regained his feet. But Jones was unable to finish the job despite the fact that Harris, with his five-inch reach advantage, failed to tie him up to buy time.

Jones was loading up to land a knockout punch at the start of the second round, taking advantage of Harris holding his left hand low. It was Harris who was pressing the action against his counter-punching rival. In the closing seconds of the round, Jones dropped Harris for the third time with a short hook.

Harris again showed a big heart by climbing off the deck and wobbling back to his corner.

Jones landed heavy punches in Round 3, but seemed discouraged that Harris was still standing.

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