Boxing: Life sentence


Glasgow Daily Record, UK
June 17 2004

If Scott had lost his court case it would have been the end of his
boxing career, admits Maloney

By Hugh Keevins

SCOTT HARRISON’S manager Frank Maloney last night admitted he feared
the world featherweight champion might have had his career ended by
a legal judgment rather than a lethal blow.

Maloney was campaigning in the election to choose London’s Lord
Mayor last week but he spent 48 hours of simultaneous worry over his
fighter’s appearance at Hamilton Sheriff Court on a charge of assault.

The manager said: ‘Scott didn’t fully appreciate the extent of the
predicament he was in but his father did. Peter knew and I was only
too well aware that a conviction for assault would automatically be
followed by the British Boxing Board of Control withdrawing Scott’s

‘The career of the Scottish sportsman I consider to be without peer
as a two-time world champion would have been extinguished overnight.

‘Boxer’s hands are considered to be lethal weapons and, while Scott
told me he was innocent of all charges, I was worried his fate lay
in the hands of one man on the bench.’

Sheriff Rae Small acquitted Harrison and after Maloney had downed
champagne in celebration he advised Scott on how to conduct the
remainder of his professional life.

He said: ‘Scott has told me he wants to fight for another four years.

He wants to retain his world title against William Abelyan on Saturday
night and then go after the big pay days that will undoubtedly follow.

‘But he has to remember that being a world champion cuts you off from
the rest of the world, even if you come from the streets like him.

‘It is hard for boxers to have a social life. When I managed Lennox
Lewis the heavyweight champion of the world would be challenged to
fight by 5ft midgets if hewent out in public.

‘I know of two fighters whose careers came to an end after they were
sent to prison for losing control of their fists.

‘My first inclination was to tell Scott and his dad to go for a
postponement when I realised how close the court appearance would
come to the fight with Abelyan.

‘But it is a measure of the man that the champion wanted to go ahead
with the defence of his title.’

Harrison junior thought the worst that could happen to him would be
a fine from the boxing authorities if found guilty by the courts.

The revelation his career was hanging by a thread only served to
intensify his determination to increase his reputation in the ring
while restoring his public image at the expense of the Armenian this
weekend. Harrison said: ‘I now know when you are in a court of law
you are in another man’s world. My life was in somebody else’s hands.

‘I knew I was innocent when I was sitting in the dock but I was being
confronted by lies and that experience has hardened me.

‘The end of the trial has taken a huge weight off my mind but now
I have to answer the people who were trying to bring me down by
delivering the best performance possible in the ring against Abelyan.

‘My preparation hasn’t been affected by the time spent in court. I
trained in the mornings and went to Hamilton before going back to
the gym.Butnow I’m backon track.’

The test of how much has been taken out of Harrison’s mind and body
will be set by a fighter who claims a year out of the ring will not
have blunted his threat to Harrison.

But the champion said: ‘He insists he couldn’t find anybody to fight
him over the last 12 months but I don’t accept that. I think it’s
a definite draw-back for him that he hasn’t absorbed any punishment
over the last year.

‘I’ve given Frank my list of ambitions for the immediate future. I
want to unify the featherweight titles and then move up a weight
division. And I want to fight for a title in one of Glasgow’s football
grounds one day.

‘In short, I want to be the best in the world onan undisputed basis.’