New Jersey Heavyweight Champ Dan Pasciolla RCM Interview: Maurice Harris Could Be Next

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent


In a Real Combat Media interview exclusive, New Jersey State Heavy weight champion Dan ‘White Chocolate’ Pasciolla, fresh from his six round decision win over Dante Selby at The Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on July 22, 2016, would like to defend his New Jersey State title next against rugged veteran Maurice ‘Mo Bettah’ Harris. Pasciolla, 8-1-1, Brick, New Jersey, avenged his only career loss with the win over Selby, a nontitle bout.


Pasciolla, age 30, who won the New Jersey State Heavyweight title by six round decision over former World Cruiserweight champion Imamu Mayfield at The Claridge this past March, would like to fight Harris to defend his state title as a preliminary to the main event of the Thomas LaManna versus Dusty Harrison for the vacant USBA Welterweight in the main event ten round bout scheduled to take place at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on September 16, 2016.


Fifty pro bout veteran Harris, age 40, a former USBA Heavyweight champion from Newark, New Jersey, turned pro in 1992, and has a career record of 26-21-3 with 11 knockouts. Two other possible New Jersey State heavyweight challengers for Pasciolla, heavyweights Chazz Witherspoon and Tyrell Wright, already have separate bouts scheduled in the month of August coming up and are not available.


Robert Brizel: “Congratulations on your big win over Dante Selby.”


Dan Pasciolla: “Thank you.”


Robert Brizel: “How did you find that win? Was it very gratifying for you to beat the man (Dante Selby) who beat you in your professional debut?”


Dan Pasciolla: “If felt really good beating the guy who beat me in my debut. I knew he (Selby was going to take the fight (the rematch) seriously, and I have to give him credit. He doesn’t have the most (best boxing) skills, but he came in really good shape, and gave me a great fight! He was very game, I will give him credit for that. He came in (to fight me) very seriously. He came in to (Atlantic City to) fight.”


Robert Brizel: “You had the benefit of a second round technical knockdown.  It was an overhand left hand to the head which staggered him backwards off the ropes.”


Dan Pasciolla: “I got him backed up into a neutral corner, and he started to trade with me, and I got the upper hand in that exchange, and I caught him with a shot that knocked him back into the ropes.”


Robert Brizel: “Selby went reeling backwards off the ropes, and bounced back. He took a count from referee Ricky Gonzalez as the ropes held him up), but he didn’t appear hurt.”


Dan Pasciolla: “It was a legitimate knockdown. He did come right back. I tried to come right back (follow up) on top of him.”


Robert Brizel: “You now hold the New Jersey State title, which you won in March of this year over Imamu Mayfield, a former world cruiserweight title. How was it, fighting Mayfield? He was out of the ring a long time (eight years). Mayfield fought Alexander Povetkin (at heavyweight) back in 2006. He was 30 pounds over his last win over Rayco Saunders in 2005, which was over ten years ago. Do you think that the extra weight hindered Mayfield from being able to do the things he wanted to do (in the ring)?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I don’t think the extra weight hindered him. Imamu came in around 235 pounds, which was as you said about 30 pounds over his old (cruiserweight) weight, but he had less body fat on him than I did. He came in a little bit older, I understand that, but he came in looking (appearing) in tip top shape. It was a six rounder, not a ten rounder, so I don’t think it (his weight) affected him too much.”


Robert Brizel: “Out there in Newark, New Jersey, lies the man they call ‘Mo Bettah’, Maurice Harris. Of course, Harris is a veteran of 50 professional fights, which he has fought between December 1992 and December 2015. Harris has been in four USBA heavyweight title fights, and has held the USBA heavyweight title. In fact I was there when he won it. It would match an interesting matchup, you versus Maurice Harris. What would you think, Dan Pasciolla, of defending your New Jersey State title in an eight rounder against Maurice Harris? Do you think that would be a good match in Atlantic City?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I think it would be interesting. I don’t know too much about Maurice Harris. I know he’s been around a long time. I know he’s one of the (New Jersey) fighters out there who can fight (for the New Jersey heavyweight title) but he’s hot and cold.”


Robert Brizel: “Harris is hot and cold, and with some of these fighters, when you show up you never know which fighter will show up, the good version, the bad version, or the in between version.”


Dan Pasciolla: “You never know which fighter you are going to get.”


Robert Brizel: “However, you do hold the New Jersey heavyweight title. The other fighters I have mentioned, Chazz Witherspoon and Tyrell Wright, both have scheduled fights coming up in the month of August, so they are not available at the moment. Probably you would like to turn around and fight next in September.”


Dan Pasciolla: “I do, give or take a month or two.”


Robert Brizel: Are you also working while you are training?”


Dan Pasciolla: “Yes. I work three different jobs, including personal training. I work for the government.”


Robert Brizel: “Why would you like to fight Maurice Harris. He is an orthodox fighter. He stands 6’4”, and you stand 6’4” height wise you are both about the same. He has an 80 inch reach. How long is yours?”


Dan Pasciolla: “To be honest I don’t know my (arm) reach. People tell me it is good.  For a tall guy, I don’t think I have the best reach, but I make it work.”


Robert Brizel: “Maurice Harris has been in with (fought) some heavy company, including Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Ustinov, and Amir Mansour, Edmund Gerber, and Tony Thompson. Harris has been in with a lot of rugged veterans. Why would you like to defend your New Jersey title against Maurice Harris? Why would it be a real challenge for you?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I definitely think it would be a good challenge. He’s been in with the who’s who (of the heavyweight division) since his career began in the nineties.”


Robert Brizel: “Dan, are you ready to fight an eight rounder in a preliminary bout to the main event? Are you ready to answer to that challenge?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I know I can do eight rounders. I would be selling myself short in training if I were only preparing for six rounds. I know if I buckle down and train I can do it.”


Robert Brizel: “You want to keep the New Jersey heavyweight title?”


Dan Pasciolla: “Yes, of course. My goal is I want to get some (more) fights, I want to build my record. I want to move up ideally to bigger and better things while improving myself. That’s the main goal. I definitely want to stay as busy as possible. Ideally give or take, I want to get (have) five fights a year.”


Robert Brizel: “You know Tommy LaManna is going to be fighting Dusty Harrison for the vacant USBA Welterweight title.”


Dan Pasciolla: “On September 16, 2016, at the Trump Taj Mahal.”


Robert Brizel: “I did a show there at The Taj a couple of months back with the Charlo brothers, the first boxing show at The Taj in ten years. Would you like to fight on the undercard of LaManna versus Harrison at The Taj? Would you like to be one of the televised preliminary bouts to the LaManna versus Harrison main event? Would that be an exciting moment for you?”


Dan Pasciolla: “That would probably be a good moment for me. I didn’t realize the Taj card would be televised.”


Robert Brizel: “It absolutely will be. The card is still unofficial. AN eight round bout with Maurice Harris for your New Jersey State title might be good enough to get you into one of the televised preliminary bouts to the main event. Would you like to fight on the LaManna-Harrison undercard? Do you think that kind of television exposure would advance your career?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I think any kind of television exposure is good exposure.”


Robert Brizel: “Do you think Maurice Harris, who is a former world wide top ten heavyweight contender from New Jersey, would be a worthy challenger for your New Jersey State heavyweight title?”


Dan Pasciolla: “Between New Jersey’s other top heavyweights, Chazz Witherspoon, Tyrell Wright and Maurice Harris, I think Harris is the worst fighter of the three, but he would be the toughest, based on his record.”


Robert Brizel: “Harris has a great deal of experience. Does that bother you, or do you think you can handle it?”


Dan Pasciolla: “It doesn’t bother me, I see it as more of a challenger, because I know what to expect from his experience, if that makes any sense. I’m a soft spoken gentleman. I would consider fighting Maurice Harris for the right money, and the right kind of exposure.


Robert Brizel: “Do you think Maurice Harris is a good next step stepping stone for your career?”


Dan Pasciolla: “I definitely agree it’s a good stepping stone (bout to fight Harris next). I would like to get a few more fights and a bit more experience. That being said, a fight between me and Maurice Harris could be a good opportunity!”


Robert Brizel: “The bottom line: why do you want to fight Maurice Harris?”


Dan Pasciolla: “Well, I think it would be a good test of my skills. Of all the heavyweights, he has fought them, so he would be a good stepping stone. Harris is (would be) a good stepping stone fight (for me).”


Robert Brizel: “Are you ready to fight an eight round fight now? Are you ready to step it up?”


Dan Pasciolla: “If the opportunity arises, and it’s an eight rounder, I will buckle down and train for an eight rounder.”


Robert Brizel: ‘Why would you really like to fight Maurice Harris? What is interesting about fighting a fighter of skill, versus fighters you have fought already, who are not on that level (of boxing ability)? Can your new manager Rick Santini make the Harris fight happen on the LaManna versus Harrison undercard?”


Dan Pasciolla: “Somebody like that (heavyweight Maurice Harris) has been in with everybody. A win over Maurice Harris puts my name out there. Is the LaManna versus Harrison card at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City going to be televised? Could I be on that card this September against Maurice Harris? It’s possible. We’ll see what happens.”




Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at robertbrizel@realcombatmedia.com.