Last Friday night, in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, former WBA Jr. Welterweight champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris, 29-3-1 (19), took on Noe Balanos, 20-4-1 (12). The fight started out fine with both men feeling each other out. Then at the 0:40 mark the two men clashed heads. Vivian Harris immediately grabbed his head and went towards his corner. The referee, realizing that Harris was in some trouble, took Harris over to the ringside Physician. As the physician was checking over the fighter, Harris fell into the corner and the referee signaled to the paramedics. Medical staff was in the ring within seconds, tending to the fallen fighter. In a scene eerily familiar with the Oscar Diaz collapse in July 2008, in which Oscar Diaz collapsed in the ring after being stopped by Delvin Rodriguez and slipped into a coma. Harris was placed in a neck brace and removed from the ring on a stretcher. This time the events would turn out much better than July 2008, as Harris appeared to regain his senses and sat up, talking with the medical staff, his trainers and family. Harris was taken to the hospital for observation and released the next morning. We caught up with Vivian Harris, just 48 hours after the ordeal.
Bob Carroll (BC): Vivian, it was a very scary scene in the ring on Friday night. How are you feeling?
Vivian Harris (VH): I feel better. I feel good. I thank God I’m okay.
BC: After the deadliest month in boxing history, July 2009, where we lost 7 fighters, three to ring injury, it was great to see the quick response from the medical staff. Did you realize that you were in some trouble right away?
VH: Um, when I got the head butt, I got up and I guess I got up too quick, you know what I mean? I was just a shock, you know? Everything just happened so fast. All I know is when I came to, I was already on the stretcher, strapped down. I was like’ What the hell is this on me?’ you know what I mean, this thing on my neck and shit. But other than that, it was just a shock. But everything turned out okay.
BC: Do you remember what happened before you went out?
VH: I know when I watched the tape! I re-watched it on the internet. I was going in with my double jab and I was going to the right to land a right hand to the body, but he just squatted and put his head there. He wasn’t trying to hit me, but I don’t know what he was doing. It was just an accidental head butt, he didn’t willfully do it. It was an accident and we bumped heads, we just collided. His head hit me around my temple, on the temple side.
BC: When did you finally start to regain your senses?
VH: When I got the head butt, I remember walking to the corner. After I walked over to the corner, I don’t remember anything else until I was on the stretcher. I was a little shocked. When I had the (collar) around my neck, I was like “what is this around my neck?” That’s when I started to catch my senses. It was maybe a few seconds or minutes, I don’t know how long I was out, you know?
BC: One of the most tear jerking parts of that night was watching you try to console your daughter after you came around. She was very upset, and for good reason. How is she doing now?
VH: She’s good man. I talk to my kids every day and they know the kind of work I do, so they understand. She is good now, she was very emotional at the time, but she understands everything that happened. I told her what happened and she is okay now. She is a tough girl, she is tough like her daddy, you know? She just had to let it out, you know? She is feeling better now, she is feeling okay.
BC: So her tears were more from the relief that her Daddy was okay than actual worry for her daddy?
VH: Yeah, sometimes the tears just have to come out, you know? You can’t hold the tears back and that is what she did and what you saw. I am happy that she did that, she didn’t hold it in. She was by my side; everywhere I go she was right there to make sure she knew I was okay. Everyone involved handled this incident well and I definitely appreciate the commissioner making sure the people took care of me and making sure I was taken to the hospital. Even though they (paramedics) said that everything was good before I was taken to the hospital, the commissioner was like “No, take him to see a doctor to make sure that everything is okay”. They (paramedics) said that everything was good, I was fine and I didn’t need to go to the hospital, but the commissioner said that he wanted me checked out by a doctor and I respect that decision and care. I really liked that, you know what I mean? We ended up at the hospital, they did a CAT scan and everything was good. There was no concussion, there was nothing wrong. I really feel good about that, you know what I mean?
BC: You were taken to the hospital that night. You said all of the tests were okay, so how long did they keep you?
VH: I stayed there for maybe less than an hour. I did a CAT scan and we had to wait to get into a room to get the CAT scan and afterwards, we got the results and they let me go. They wanted to let me go earlier because they said I didn’t need a CAT scan, everything is good, my vital signs were good, but I said ‘No, just give me the CAT scan to make sure that everything really is good. They gave it to me, gave me the results and we left.
BC: For Tommy Brooks, it must have been like “Oh God, not again!”, after he lost nearly lost Oscar Diaz from a ring injury back in July 2008. How happy was Tommy when you started to feel better?
VH: Yeah, he’s definitely happy, man, especially his wife, man. His wife was really hurt and it was a terrible, terrible situation for her at that moment. I know a lot of things flashed back in her mind, you know what I mean? She even went to the hospital to make sure everything really was okay with me. It was good to have that support; I really have good people around me. I appreciate everybody that had taken time out to make sure everything was good. You know, even Golden Boy made sure I was okay and came to the hospital. They called me yesterday and I really respect all of them. My well being is first.
BC: I know if was very early in the fight when it was stopped, but how did you feel the fight would go?
VH: I definitely felt the fight was going to go in a good way for me because I had everything under control with my jab. He couldn’t get past my jab. Yeah, it was still early, but the first round can always tell a fight, you know what I mean? Once my jab is landing well in the first round, it keeps landing in the second round and it would have kept landing. From there he would have gotten confused and would have walked into my right hand. I definitely know it would have gotten better and better for me.
BC: When do you plan on returning to the ring?
VH: I definitely want to return in November. I don’t want to stay away for 10 months; I want to stay sharp and be comfortable and relaxed in the ring. The only way that happens is being back in the ring in the next three months. Just no more long lay offs, you know? So that’s my goal, to be back in November.
BC: Is there anyone you would like as your next opponent?
VH: Well, that’s what I was doing before. I don’t want to do the same thing again. The fighters are the people who promote the fights, the ones taking the chances, so I have people to look after Vivian Harris. I leave it up to my people to go out there and make the fights and bring the fights to me. The world knows that I will go wherever to fight, I am always willing to fight, you know? So it don’t really matter to me, I’ll leave that to the handlers I have right now. I trust they will make the right decisions for me.
BC: What are your plans for the end of 2009 and into 2010?
VH: Well, like I said, I am taking one fight at a time, and if it leads up to something great, it leads up to something great. Once I get my next fight, it will lead up to something great. It’s just getting the fight, but once my people deliver, I’m going to make sure everything goes good.
BC: Vivian, the floor is yours, what would you like to tell all of your fans and the readers of Convicted Artist Magazine.
VH: That everything is good, that I am good. Maybe, if I didn’t collapse, the fight would have continued, but I did collapse and the fight did not get to continue. I am sorry if I disappointed anyone, it was my fault because I collapsed, but if I kept on my feet, I would have continued fighting. I am not a quitter and it would have been a beautiful fight.
I'd like to thank Vivian for taking time out of his day to speak with Convicted Artist Magazine. I'd also like to thank R. Christopher at Boxing Buzz for setting up the interview. For more on the Vivian Harris incident, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night on Fightin' Words Radio Show from 8-9pm EST.