Michael Grant knocked down weary Lou Savarese twice in the final round Saturday night and remained unbeaten with a one-sided, 10-round decision Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Watching at ringside was WBC champion Lennox Lewis. The victory could mean Grant would get a shot at Lewis, should the Lewis-Evander Holyfield rematch fall through.
The 6-foot-7, 256-pound Grant exhibited strength and showed the potential to be a top heavyweight, but his performance also showed he could use further seasoning before meeting someone of Lewis' caliber.
Grant's performance was workmanlike and at times dull until the final two rounds, when Savarese was at the point of exhaustion.
Grant landed 56 of 90 punches in the final round when he scored the two knockdowns. Grant knocked the 6-5, 240-pound Savarese onto the ring apron with a series of punches. Savarese got back into the ring at the count of six and then went down for a count of three from another flurry with 21 seconds to go.
Two judges each favored Grant by eight points and the other by six.
"I'm still young at this game and have work to do," said the 26-year-old Grant, of Norristown, Pa. (30-0, 21 knockouts). "I took my time and got the rounds. I didn't turn the oven up until later."
Savarese, 33, is 39-3 with 32 knockouts.
On the undercard, last-minute substitute Maurice Williams scored an upset 10-round unanimous decision over Jeremy Williams.
Harris, who entered the fight with a 14-9-2 record, replaced Hasim Rahmad, who injured his back.
Williams, 217 pounds, of Long Beach, Calif., had the best of the first three rounds, when he scored with some good body punches and also drew blood from Harris' nose.
Harris, 205, of Newark, N.J., took control of the fight in the fourth round when he had Williams wobbling about the ring from several combinations to the head. The best punch Williams landed was a short left hook that caught referee Arthur Mercante Jr. The referee wasn't hurt.
Despite his big round in the fourth, Harris said he thought he broke his right hand as early as the third round.
Harris dominated the remaining rounds with stiff left jabs and combinations to the head and won by 10 points on one card, eight on another and seven on a third.
Asked why he was unable to finish off Williams, Harris said: "It was tough closing out. I was not in the best of shape. I took the fight on four days' notice."
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