Former junior welterweight titlist Vivian Harris, who suffered a fourth-round TKO loss to Argentina's Lucas Matthysse on Feb. 20 in Mexico after referee Gelasio Perez Huerta stopped the competitive fight for no particular reason and with no meaningful shot landing, is upset that Matthysse won't accept the rematch that their promoter, Golden Boy, had hoped to make.
Not long after the fight, I spoke to Golden Boy's Oscar De La Hoya, who was at the fight. He agreed that it was one of the poorest stoppages he had ever seen and hoped to make a rematch.
I detailed the highly controversial stoppage in a Feb. 23 blog, and thought that Golden Boy would be able to get an immediate rematch done, perhaps adding it to one of its spring or summer pay-per-view undercards.
However, it is apparent that at this point a rematch is not in the cards, which has Harris fuming.
"He's a coward; plain and simple," Harris said of Matthysse. "Why else would he and his team not want to fight me? They saw that his eye was rapidly closing and that there was a lot more fight left. They know it's a risky fight and they probably just want to go back to fighting nobodies in Argentina.
"They have padded his record from the start of his career. He and I both know that the stoppage was bulls---. Everyone who saw that fight knows I didn't lose that fight on fair terms. I want the chance to set the record straight. It's a shame he's a gutless coward. I was looking forward to rearranging his face for a second time."
The Matthysse camp, of course, takes a very different view of the situation.
When I spoke to Sampson Lewkowicz, Matthysse's adviser, and brought up the comments made by Harris, he took exception. Lewkowicz noted that Harris refused to give another one of his clients, Noe Bolanos, a rematch after their second-round no contest last summer.
That "Friday Night Fights" main event ended after Harris suffered a bad head butt and couldn't continue (but, if you ask me, wasn't exactly the kind of fight that merited a sequel).
"Many say [Harris] quit in that fight," Lewkowicz said. "Let him have this fight with Bolanos first and then we can talk about Matthysse again. Harris brings absolutely nothing to the table for Matthysse. He beat him once. Besides, nobody will buy this fight, not HBO or Showtime. If they can get somebody to buy the rematch and it makes sense, we can do it. It's a business decision."