MANUEL GARNICA W12 CARLOS MAUSSA

Miccosukee resort and gaming, MIAMI, FL, Aug. 25

Question: How on earth did Carlos Maussa ever manage to knock out Vivian Harris?

I pondered this all through the lanky Colombian’s curious 12-rounder with Manuel Garnica in which the underdog from Guadalajara outboxed and at times even outfought the former 140-pound champion.

Garnica, 31, who returned to boxing last year after a five-year absence, won this by the simple method hitting and not getting hit. He would get off with his punches and get out.

Maussa helped him no end in this regard by walking in with his arms dangling by his sides. The Colombian seemed to think that all he had to was land one of his big swings and the fight would be over. The trouble was, Maussa’s right hands were slow and wide. You’ve heard about a fighter telegraphing his punches. Maussa could have written Garnica a letter: “OK, Manuel, here comes another overhand right, plenty of time to get out of the way."

Garnica began to look like a man who could not believe his own good fortune. He would stick a jab in Maussa’s face, hit him with hooks and right hands to body and head, and then use his legs to scoot out of harm’s way. He did this over and over, round after round, piling up the points. I did not see it quite as lopsided as Telemundo’s TV scorer, but it was clear by the middle rounds that we were watching an upset in the making.

Maussa, 34, seemed to be doing better in the fifth and especially the sixth, when his physical pressure appeared to be overpowering Garnica a little, but the Mexican seemed to get a second wind and by the later rounds he was actually backing up the former champion, finishing strongly to make sure of the unanimous verdict (115-113, 116-112 and 117-111).

Garnica fought with self-belief and determination and his surprising victory was well-earned: Maussa either threw this away by being far too relaxed about the whole thing or he has become overnight a “shot" fighter after Ricky Hatton flattened him — and I am not sure which it is.

Last Updated: 
August 27, 2006 - 5:49am