THE SIDELINES : Ex-Boxer Gypsy Joe Harris Dies

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Former welterweight contender Gypsy Joe Harris, whose promising boxing career ended with the discovery that he had concealed blindness in one eye, has died at age 44.

Harris, who suffered four heart attacks in the last two years, died Tuesday at Temple University Hospital, where he had been a patient since Feb. 10. His sister, Daaiyah Waheed, attributed the death to heart failure.

Harris was born in Camden, N.J., and raised in North Philadelphia. A street fight blinded his right eye when he was 11, but he pursued boxing anyway and won 24 of 25 fights.

He lost his only fight on Aug. 6, 1968, in a decision to former champion Emile Griffith. A routine physical examination two months later by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission showed him to be blind in his right eye, and his boxing license was revoked.