Monday 1 April 2013

Audley Harrison - Inspirational or delusional?

By John Hoolan @JohnHoolan.

Harrison is the fighter who never seems to know when to give up. After his defeat to David Price 99% of people said he should retire. The only person who said no was Audley himself. He believes in himself and in his ability, he believes it is his destiny to be world champion.

He saw the latest heavyweight prizefighter show as a stepping stone back onto the road he has tried to follow many times before. Whilst others laughed, sighed and pointed at him his single minded determination resulted in him actually winning the event for the second time. 

He is now lined up to fight Deontay Wilder on Amir Khan’s undercard on 20thApril in Sheffield. Wilder is the great hope from the USA with a record of 27 fight, 27 wins, 27 KOs!!

During his pro career whenever it looked like he might have found some belief to go with his undoubted ability he would fall again and would then have to face a torrent of questioning whether he really was any good. For example beating Danny Williams in Sept 2006, but then being beaten by Michael Sprott in his next fight by TKO.

He tried to scale many hills and mountains but always slipped, stumbled and fell before he got to the summit, yet he keeps getting up and trying again…

23 KOs from 31 wins shows that Audley had the power and skill to beat any opponent in front of him on his day, BUT,  6 losses, 4 of which were to Sprott, Williams, Rogan and Guinn show that he lacked the mental ability to go with his boxing skill. At times it looked like he was a rabbit caught in headlights. The 3rd round against David Haye was a classic example of this.

Along with prizefighter the highlight of his pro career was winning the European heavyweight title at his second attempt against Michael Sprott.

But he never wrapped a belt around his waist again and may never again – Yet he still believes...

His defeat at the hands of the commonwealth heavyweight, David Price, after 82 seconds should be his last and should also make it clear to Audley himself that he does not have the tools any longer to succeed at the top of the game domestically, never mind European or world level.

Yet Audley still believes.

We should not forget the good that Audley did boxing and the abuse he received before and after the Price fight was, in my opinion scandalous. Had Audley not won Gold at the 2000 Olympics, boxing GB would have scaled back its programme even more and would also have received a lot less  funding, possibly meaning the end of Olympic boxing in the country. 

He always believed he'd win gold.

With no TeamGB there would have been no Khan, Degale, Joshua, Adams, Price, etc, etc learning their trades in the amateurs winning medals at Olympic games. I think people should remember that.

Harrison will go into the fight with Wilder as a big underdog with the bookies, however there are those who think he may beat Wilder. Wilder after all is yet to face anybody in the top 30 in the world even after 27 fights and although he has a great KO record is still not a “name” in America and isn’t showcased on US TV the way Fury and Price are in the UK.

A win for Harrison won’t get him a shot at one of the Klitschkos for a title, but it will put him back in the reckoning. Harrison is an enigma that sells tickets and makes money, whether if it’s from people supporting him or people wanting to see him knocked out his opponents won’t mind. His PR machine will go into overdrive calling for a fight with a genuine top 5 contender, nobody will give him a chance – yet he'll still believe.

I asked the question is Audley Inspirational or Delusional at the beginning. Whatever you, I or anybody else thinks, I know what Audley believes…

I wish him well…

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