Born-again Christian Alex Arthur is delighted to think Scott Harrison can redeem himself in the ring, writes Hugh Keevins.
But last night the interim world champion insisted he didn’t have the charity in his heart to let a possible fight with Harrison distract him from what he has to do against Joan Guzman.
Arthur meets the Puerto Rican holder of the super-featherweight title in Glasgow or London in April to decide who is the best in the world.
This week Harrison admitted a fight with Arthur would be one high-profile way to signal his arrival in the super-feather division. But that is not Arthur’s top priority and last night he said: “When I saw Scott’s work-out on television I felt happy for him.
“I looked up to Scott when we worked together and I have never lost my respect for him as a two-time former world champion.
“My Christian beliefs make me hope he has the strength to overcome adversity and if he makes it back all the way then one day I’d be happy to take on the fight between us that so many people in Scotland want to see. But now is not that time.
“I have to devote my attention to Guzman after my promoter, Frank Warren, won the purse bid to stage our contest away from America.
“If I don’t focus on what’s ahead of me then, to put it into not so Christian terms, Guzman will hand me my ass in April. That means no distractions in the form of Scott Harrison.”
The two Scots used to train at the Glasgow gym owned by Harrison’s father, Peter, and Arthur said: “I marvelled at the way Scott would work hard and play hard.
“He would fight at featherweight and then party afterwards until he looked like Ricky Hatton. Four or five weeks of training later he would be back to looking like a magnificent specimen.
“I was never much of a drinker or a party animal. Now, as a Christian, I’m pulling for him.
“I always thought of him as gutsy, dedicated fighter who took no backward steps against anyone. He rose to the top and lived life in the fast lane.
“Deep down, I feared that might see his life spiral out of control.”
• Full story at the Daily Record.