Vicious Vivian Harris wants you to hold on to those cards, the cake and whatever other birthday gifts you had in mind. The former world junior welterweight champ actually turned 28 today (June 17), a birthday he shares with ring legend Roberto Duran.
There was no cake to be seen but punch was definitely served on Harris' birthday as he went through a grueling, three-hour workout at famous Gleason's Gym today as trainer Lennox Blackmoore and manager Jose Nunez watched closely.
But there were no champagne corks popping and Harris, who is usually loquacious, was not popping off.
"I have matured," the ex-champ originally from Guyana said. "I could run my mouth about Ricky Hatton, about Miguel Cotto and all the rest. But I have a job to do on July 29 at the Chumash Casino when I fight Arnaoutis. I never watched tapes of opponents before but I have watched 10 tapes of this guy. He's a great fighter, undefeated, and coming up the ranks. I take nothing from him. But he is moving up into the championship league now.
"I'm thinking about the future of my two kids now. This loss will make Arnaoutis a better fighter over time. My title loss (Carlos Maussa) happened for a reason. I have my team together completely now with Lennox and Jose. Jose has been with me as a friend from Day One but now he is the manager. And I have a new promoter."
Harris is promoted by Gary Shaw and it was Shaw who made the tough match which will air as a main event on the "Boxing After Dark" program.
"I could say this and that about Hatton, about Cotto, but why? I am truly focused on Mike Arnaoutis. If I don't get past him, I won't get nowhere. I know that. He may not be a household name but he is a good fighter. You don't get freebies on HBO. "
Blackmoore, who will soon move to Las Vegas for final preparations with Harris, thinks this is a good test for his boxer.
"We'll spend a month in Vegas," Blackmoore said. "This guy has the perfect style for Vivian right now. His weight is no problem. He is working very hard because he knows what is at stake here. Vivian's forte is boxing and counterpunching. His only loss came when he got away from doing that. We can talk about Cotto and Hatton after this fight. Right now, we have a job to do."
Nunez, a Brooklyn music and real estate mogul, likes Harris' temperament.
"People forget the mental aspects of boxing," Nunez said. "Vivian is an intense person, an emotional person sometimes. Now he feels as though he has Lennox handling the gym and me handling his business so he can concentrate on what he has to do."
As far as a manager of Arnaoutis labeling Vivian "a girl's name, Nunez chuckled.
"Last time Vivian heard that I think he fell out of his crib. Who writes her material.? We will see how they like this 'girl' when the opening bell rings."
Nunez also handles the ring career of sizzling, unbeaten junior lightweight contender and former 122-pound champ, Joan Guzman.