NEW YORK – The long, strange trip Maurice “Sugar Moe” Harris has taken during his often tumultuous 18-year pro career is close to reaching its ultimate zenith as the USBA heavyweight champion makes final preparations for this week’s rematch against former world title challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson,” live on ESPN Friday Night Fights from Reno Events Center in Nevada.
The IBF No. 6 Harris (24-14-2, 10 KOs) versus No. 7 Thompson (35-2, 23 KOs) battle is a scheduled 12-round, International Boxing Federation (“IBF”) Box-Off with the winner moving up to No. 2 in the IBF ratings, and earning an IBF Title Eliminator match against the other IBF Box-Off winner, top rated “Fast” Eddie Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs), who defeated Derric Rossey this past February by way of a 12-round unanimous decision. The winner of the fight between Chambers and Harris/Thompson will determine the IBF mandatory challenger for world champion Wladimir Klitschko (or David Haye if he wins their July 2nd unification fight).
“I try not to think too far ahead and to stay focused on the task at hand,” Harris spoke about not letting possible fights in the future being a distraction from his mission. “I hear that I’m only two fights away, but I’m not focused on fighting Eddie Chambers because I’m fighting Tony Thompson. I take it one fight at a time. If I don’t focus on Tony Thompson there won’t be an Eddie Chambers fight for me.
“I’ve always had it inside of me. I’ve worked too hard to get here and I’m not turning back now. I have done everything possible to get ready for this fight. Usually, when I do that, good things happen. This is my job. I don’t have a social life. Once in a while I may go to the movies with my wife or to Chuck E. Cheese with my kids, but boxing is all I really do. I’m going with my promoter’s logo: Boxing 360 and that’s all I do.”
A decade ago, Harris defeated Thompson by decision in the final of the “Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament. “Things change,” Maurice commented. “I didn’t know Thompson then and I don’t know him now. I’m not going back nine years to that fight. This fight is now and that’s what counts. I know I’m a better fighter because with age comes wisdom. He’s gotten experience and fought in some big fights. I’ve been on my journey and he’s been on his. I’m ready. It’s going to be an interesting night.”
The 35-year-old Harris has beaten some of the best heavyweights, including former world champion Sergei Liakhovich and world title challenger Jeremy Williams, but he’s also lost to journeymen and no-name opponents. The reborn-Harris, however, has won four fights in a row since signing a promotional contract with Boxing 360.
“In the past I was just going along for the ride,” Harris added. “I wasn’t focused like I am now. I never thought it would come to this (two fights away from a world title shot). It all came unexpectedly but I always knew that I could beat the major players. Hey, I won’t be satisfied with a win Friday night because it isn’t my ultimate goal.”
Other members of Boxing 360’s stable include WBC #3 super bantamweight Leon “Hurry Up” Moore, former IBF super middleweight champion Alejandro “Naco” Berrio, NY State champions, middleweight Lennox “2 Sharpe” Allen and welterweight Danny Sostre, KO king Tyrone Brunson, Nick “Hands of Gold” Casal, Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano, middleweight prospect DonYil Livingston, Joshua “The Juice” Harris, Emad Ali, Mike Mollo, “King” David Estrada and Angel “Toro” Hernandez.
Go to www.Boxing360.com for more information about Harris, Boxing 360 or any of its other fighters.