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Jr Welterweight buzz: Witter -vs- Harris, Holt & Torres, etc

Witter faces Harris tonight in UK! Torres stops Holt in controversial title fight in Columbia last weekend - appeal logged by Holt and considered by WBO.

Tonight at the Doncaster Dome in Doncaster, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, WBC Super Lightweight Champion Junior Witter squares off with Former WBA Super Lightweight Champion Vicious Vivian Harris. This is a good fight for both of these two combatants to make a statement and steak their claim as the best fighter in the division. Titleholders Paulie Malignaggi and Ricardo Torres might have something to say about that, but we'll get to them later.

This is Harris's first title fight since losing his title by knockout to Carlos Maussa back in June of 2005. Since then, Harris has rebounded for that loss with three wins, two of which came against former lightweight champion Stevie Johnston and Juan Lazcano. Witter won the vacant title with a unanimous decision over former WBO Jr Welterweight Champion DeMarcus Corley and successfully defended that title with a 9th round TKO over Arturo Morua.

Harris is a devastating puncher. He's a great pitcher, but as shown in the Maussa fight, he's not always the greatest catcher. Even against Johnston, a fighter Harris dropped like 10 times, Johnston still managed to get up from those knockdowns to come back and momentarily stun Harris from time to time. Johnston is not a puncher by any means. Neither is Witter, but he is a mover and one can expect Witter to use those legs and keep the powerful Harris at distance.

American television viewers last saw Witter years ago on Showtime Championship Boxing in his unsuccessful title challenge to then IBF Jr Welterweight Champion Zab Judah in June 2000. He was a lot younger and significantly less experienced and seasoned at that time than he is now, but the fact remains that he stunk out the joint that night with his retreating style. Perhaps that has something to do with tonight's significant title fight not being televised in the United States? It should AT LEAST be on ESPN2 or Fox Sports Network.

Harris can punch, and he may even be able to hurt to Witter, but Witter has to be there in front of Harris for him to be able to hurt him. Being that this fight is staged in Witter's home country England, and given the styles of the two fighters, I expect Witter to win on points over Harris - perhaps even a controversial decision. Harris is stepping into foreign territory for this title challenge.

Speaking of title challengers stepping into foreign territory, a fellow by the name of Kendall Holt attempted such a feat last weekend and unfortunately came up rather short against WBO Jr Welterweight Titlist Ricardo Torres. The fight happened in Columbia, which is Torres's country, and ended somewhat controversially. Absolute pandemonium! I did not see the fight for myself, but I read that Holt was controlling the fight for the first ten rounds, and even managed to drop and hurt the champion in the sixth round.

The crowd was heated, impassioned, and totally out of control, as one of the fans presumably launched a loaded beer can at Holt's head. That's totally uncalled for! I mean, that is what you call hostile territory! I did manage to catch the end of the fight on Youtube. In the 11th round, Holt was on the move for the most part when Torres launched a left hook that almost knocked Holt through the ropes. Holt clearly beat the count, implying to the referee that he was alright, and resumed fighting. Torres jumped on him with some shots and the fight was stopped.

It would appear to me that the fight was stopped prematurely as well. When you have a world title fight, and a challenger has fought his heart out for ten plus rounds and is winning the fight, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt under fire. Nonetheless, we must remember that this fight was in hostile territory in the champion's home country and these things happen in boxing. In any case, the Holt camp has logged an appeal to the WBO and the WBO is considering that appeal.

Expect a rematch to happen sometime next year, and hopefully in the United States. Holt was ahead on points on two of the three scorecards, which says alot when one acknowledges where the fight was happening.

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