Audley Harrison Gets Back In Win Column With 5th Round TKO Over Jason Barnett

by James Slater: "A-Force" Audley Harrison made a successful return to the ring last night. Boxing on the under-card of the Hopkins-Calzaghe clash, the 36 year old fought for the first time since February of last year - when he was stopped in three rounds by Michael Sprott. Stopping the limited Jason Barnett at 1 minute and 48 seconds of round number 5, Harrison had his first win under new trainer James "Buddy" McGirt..

Looking in good physical condition at 254 pounds, Harrison got his southpaw right jab going well in the opener. The 6'5" big man also crashed in a couple of left hands on his 33 year old opponent. Harrison easily took the round. But a statement of the "I'm back!" variety was what he really needed tonight.

Unfortunately, Audley was his old ultra-cautious self and he seemingly had no qualms about the rounds going by without much action taking place. To be fair, Harrison did have a fair amount of ring-rust to shift, but after about 3 rounds against an opponent who was offering practically nothing and was therefore not much of a threat, the Brit should have really made a concerted effort to score a stoppage. Audley looked quite static on his feet, but his jab was fast and accurate.

Truth be told, it was a dull fight, with the 224 pound Barnett mostly taking shots and Harrison content to box in his comfort zone. One decent right hand did score for Barnett in round number 5, and maybe this fleeting show of aggression made the 36 year old step it up a touch. Audley caught his man with a left/right combo downstairs and Barnett hit the mat. Up at the count of 6 Barnett was deemed too badly hurt by referee Russell Mora, and the fight was waved off.

Harrison is fighting and winning once again, but from this first fight back it appeared not much has changed with the way he boxes. There just doesn't seem to be enough devil in the man known as "A-Force." Time will tell, but it looks as though Harrison faces a long and tough road if he is going to get anywhere this late in his career.

With the win, in a fight that brought its share of boos from the Vegas crowd, Harrison improved to 22-3(17). Barnett fell to 10-7(4).

Article posted on 20.04.2008

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