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Grant Wins; Remains a Work-in-Progress

Dateline: 06/20/99

Michael Grant (30-0, 21 KOs) remained undefeated with a one-sided 10-round decision over a game, but overmatched, Lou Savarese (39-3, 32 KOs). That's the good news for Grant. The bad news is that he remains a work-in-progress and after this dull performance, there will be no public outcry to see Grant in a big money fight with Lennox Lewis (or anyone else) any time soon. This is not in any way meant to suggest that Grant can't someday become a very good, or even great, fighter. At only 26, Grant - an athletic 6-foot-7, 256 pounds - continued to demonstrate great potential and a very solid chin. But what he didn't show was an ability to effectively utilize his physical advantages and finish off an opponent once he had him hurt.

Grant was never in any danger as his workmanlike effort built up a comfortable lead through the first eight rounds. In the final two rounds, with Savarese bleeding from cuts over his left eye and appearing on the verge of exhaustion, Grant picked up the pace a bit -- scoring two knockdowns and landing 56 of 90 punches in the final round. In the end, all three judges scored in favor of Grant by scores of 98-90, 98-90 and 97-91.

While the future is full of promise for Grant, Savarese, at 33, still has great heart, but appears to have gone as far as his limited skills will allow.

On the undercard, Maurice Harris (15-9-2, 9 KOs) - fighting on just four days notice - scored a major upset over Jeremy Williams (34-3, 31 KOs) with a surprisingly easy 10-round unanimous decision. Harris, easily the best heavyweight in the world with nine losses, replaced Hasim Rahman, who has made a troubling habit out of canceling fights at the last minute (he claimed an injured his back, but reports suggest it was actually managerial problems). Given the weak peformance from Williams, Rahman may be regretting having pulled out of what likely would have been an easy victory over a name opponent.

In any case, Harris came away from this night as the fighter who did the most to give his career a boost. Having been the victim of a rotten decision in his fight with Larry Holmes back in 1997, this win puts Harris on the heavyweight map. The first three rounds were fairly even (Harris actually thought he broke his hand in the thrid), but after rocking Williams in the fourth, Harris dominated the remainder of the fight -- hurting Williams on several occasions and making the former contender appear content to just finish the fight.

Fortunately for Harris, the judges scored the fight based on what happened in the ring, not on the fighters' records and reputations coming into the ring, giving the 23-year-old underdog the decision by scores of 98-91, 98-90, and 99-89.

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