Boxing: Maloney flies out for heart to heart with troubled Harrison
Sunday 21 May 2006
Frank Maloney, the manager of troubled World Boxing Organisation featherweight boxing champion Scott Harrison, has flown to Scotland to make a heartfelt plea for the boxer to turn his life around.
Maloney arrived in Glasgow yesterday for talks with 28-year-old Harrison, who walked out of the city's Priory clinic - where he is being treated for depression and alcohol problems - to go drinking on Thursday before returning a few hours later.
Maloney said he had spoken to counsellors and former alcoholics and hopes that his pep talk will have the desired effect but admitted his words would be useless if Harrison was unwilling to listen.
Maloney said: "I am just going to have a chat with him and his father [Peter] and see how things are going and see where we go from here. I don't want him in London. I'd just like him somewhere away from all the temptations.
"But it doesn't matter where we put him because the drink is always there. That's the message I want to put across - he has to want to do this himself. That is what I will say to him. I will sit down with him. He walked out of the Priory, so I am going to put everything on the table and say how I see it.
"I am going to call on my experience of people who I have known with this problem. I have spoken to a number of people and counsellors and I know the tactics I have to use. I know what I have got to say to him but if he doesn't listen there is nothing more anyone can do."
Maloney, who has been with Harrison from early in his career, said he would be devastated to see the Scot throw away his talent. Harrison was due to have defended his world title at Belfast's King's Hall last night but was forced to cancel.
Maloney said: "This has been difficult for me because I find it distressing to see a man with so much talent wanting to waste it. Part of me says, 'to hell with it - let him waste it if he wants to', but part of me wants to help him.
"I have known him for such a long time and have been with him since [he was] 18, the first time he put on a pair of professional gloves, and I was proud to put the world title belt around his shoulders.
"It's been an incredible journey and I don't want this journey to end like this. It's because I'm in London and he's in Glasgow that I think this has taken its toll."
Maloney, the former manager of world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, has also called for bar staff in Glasgow to refuse Harrison drinks should he enter their premises.
Maloney said: "If Scott does stay in Glasgow I believe the people should help and not hinder the situation. People who see Scott in bars should help him and [bar staff] should refuse him drinks. I want people to point out to him that he is wasting his life and his career by drinking."
The Scottish boxing manager Alex Morrison has pledged to help Harrison, having won his own battle with the bottle. Maloney has also received calls from a number of sporting personalities willing to talk to Harrison.
Maloney added: "Anybody can talk to Scott - I don't have a problem with that and if people want to help then fine.
"If Alex [Morrison] wants to talk to him, I will set it up. I have also had calls from a number of sports personalities who want to help him. But it doesn't matter who wants to talk to him, if Scott is still going to go out [drinking].
"He has to win this battle himself. He can even talk to God, but he has to help himself first and face this head on."
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