Burchfield fights for ‘Sucra’: Challenges Harris or Hatton to fight Oliveira

04.08.04 – With this Friday night’s show postponed, “Sucra” Ray Oliveira is looking for a fight and his promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, has come out of Oliveira’s corner firing punches at WBA junior welterweight champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris and No. 1 contender Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton about their soap opera theatrics surrounding their proposed title fight October 2.

“Hey,” Burchfield noted, “they’re both turning down more money than Ray’s made his entire career. Ray’s a real fighter and he can get down to 140 to fight Harris or Hatton. He’s already beaten Harris. What kind of man is Harris? You’d think a real man would want to avenge his only loss.”

In February of 2000, Oliveira (46-9-2, 22 KOs) defeated Harris by unanimous decision in 10-rounds by scores of 98-93, 97-93, 97-93. He also holds victories against former world champions Charles Murray (twice) and Vince Phillips.

A rededicated Oliveira had spoken about retiring at the end of 2004, but he’s back with his old trainer, Libby Medeiros, and working hard every day in the gym.

“Ray could be the best fighter of the last decade who hasn’t won a major world title,” Burchfield continued. “After all Ray’s done in the ring, he certainly deserves a shot, and the timing is right now. He’s beaten three world champions and has been in the three highest rated fights for most punches thrown. Ray will go to England and fight Hatton in his backyard, if that’s what it takes, and it won’t cost nearly as much as Harris has turned down. Ray’s the gatekeeper of the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions. We’re offering Hatton a chance to fight the only guy to beat the guy (Harris) who won’t fight him.”

Oliveira, 35, fights out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He has been one of boxing’s most popular television fighters because of his entertaining style.

“They keep saying Ray’s getting old and he doesn’t hit hard. Well, if that’s true, why won’t any of these so-called world-class fighters get in the ring against him? He’s been chasing (Arturo) Gatti for years. Micky (Ward) got him before Ray had a shot. Talk about tough? Ray has never been stopped as a pro or amateur and he’s been floored only three times. I read that Gatti wants to have one more fight this year. Well, maybe Gatti should prove he could get past a boxer like Ray before he takes on (Floyd) Mayweather. (Bernard) Hopkins has proven age doesn’t matter; it’s all about conditioning and heart. That’s Ray Oliveira.

“He’s in top shape and available to fight now. If we don’t hear from Harris or Hatton, we’d love to fight the kid from Minnesota, (Matt) Vanda, if they’re willing to strap ‘em up and fight a real pro. This guy is 31-0 with 21 KOs. Good record, yeah, but he’s never been in the ring against somebody like Ray. A win over Oliveira would give Vanda instant credibility and silence his critics who claim he’s never fought anybody. We can get our bags packed and head to Minnesota to fight him on ShowBox (Aug. 19) in front of all his hometown fans. Ray will take him to school. He’s 154 and Ray’s at 147. So, maybe they can fight at a catch weight, say 150. Let’s talk about it. Real fighters fight and Ray Oliveira’s ready, willing and able to do what he does best – fight!”

Anybody interested in fighting Ray Oliveira can contact his promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, at 401.724.2253. A warning, though: Only the strong and serious should call.