Defeated Harris ponders his future

December 07, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

"If I had won this one, I would have become the new Golden Boy of boxing, but now I don't know where I'm heading," said Percy Harris, assessing his uncertain ring future after Saturday night's brutal beating by undefeated middleweight contender Roy Jones at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.

The morning after, and back home in Baltimore with his wife and daughter, did not help alleviate Harris' bitter disappointment in his first appearance on HBO.

Jones (20-0, 19 KOs), being hailed by promoter Bob Arum as boxing's next superstar, looked the part in exhibiting a combination of power, skill and charisma while flooring Harris four times, the first only seconds into the scheduled 12-round match for the World Boxing Council Continental Americas title.

The final knockdown came just before the bell sounded to end Round 4. But with Harris stretched out on the canvas, referee Tony Orlando did not even bother to count.

"I didn't fight very smart," said Harris, who, in his previous fight in April, tired in the closing rounds and was stopped in the 10th by then-unbeaten Lamar Parks.

"I listened to my corner's advice and played right into Jones' hands by taking the fight to him. I should have boxed and moved and used my reach advantage instead of following him around the ring."

Jones, 23, who was robbed of a chance to win a gold medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul when he lost a controversial decision to a South Korean in the finals, never allowed Harris a chance to get into his game plan. His first hard left hook dropped Harris in mid-ring and set the tone for the one-sided whipping.

"I know Percy figured I'd box him from the start, so I jumped right on him," said Jones, who, by next spring,should have his pick of which world title he plans to pursue.

With Arum now in his corner, the Florida native said he may not wait to fight International Boxing Federation champion James Toney, who will challenge IBF super-middleweight king Iran Barkley on Feb. 13.

Toney knocked out Doug DeWitt in six rounds and Barkley tuned up by flattening Robert Folley in four rounds in tuneups on the HBO tripleheader Saturday.

Even in the gloomy atmosphere of Harris' dressing room, his new manager, Zack Turner, was formulating plans to fight unbeaten World Boxing Organization super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank in London.

"Hey, after I've been stopped the last two fights, everyone will want to fight me," Harris said. "I've got to sort things out in my mind. I might just quit and start a business with the money I've earned fighting. You can't keep taking bad beatings."

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