Boxing

Audley Harrison, Surely It's Over Now?

by James Slater - Oscar De La Hoya's career, at least at anything approaching elite level, was not the only one that came to an end this past Saturday evening. Over in London, in losing for the fourth time, on this occasion to the much smaller Martin Rogan, Audley "A-Force" Harrison saw his chances of ever amounting to anything as a pro come to an end. Warned beforehand by promoter frank Warren to not only win, but to look good doing so, Harrison failed to comply to either demand..

As such, though the big man argued otherwise when being interviewed after his points loss to Ireland's Rogan, the former Olympian's career is all but over. Some would argue it never even got going in the first place. At one time boasting he would be British heavyweight champion by his fourth or fifth fight, heavyweight world champion by 2007 and then undisputed champion by this year, it's fair to say the talented but flawed southpaw has failed to even get out of first gear.

Despite his insistence that he would not be roughed up any fighter, Harrison was beaten in just that manner on Saturday night. Starting off well enough, even rocking Rogan and coming close to stopping him, Harrison then backed off, was content to fight only in bursts and was hurt and reeling a number of times himself. Once again leaving the fans and experts at a loss with regards to what his problem is in the ring, Harrison left these same people with no choice but to question his heart. Is Audley a man who likes to fight? Is he a man who can deal with adversity in the ring? It seems the answer to both questions has to be a resounding no.

Let's face it, Martin Rogan (no disrespect to him) is the type of brave but technically limited fighter an Olympic gold medallist such as Harrison should all but fail to look good against. Instead, the man who was claiming, pre-fight, that he can and will be heavyweight champion of the world, was made to look hesitant, afraid to commit and extremely vulnerable. How on earth, then, does the fighter who has always been a much better talker then he is a fighter, possibly expect to have more than a snowball's chance in hell against either one of the Klitschko brothers?

Harrison has now been beaten four times, but not only that, it has hardy been a stellar bunch that he's fallen to. Rogan is a gutsy, come-forward battler, but he's a smallish heavyweight who is in no way hard to hit. Danny Williams and Dominick Guinn, who both out-pointed Harrison, are notoriously hot and cold fighters, while the six-foot Michael Sprott, who knocked Audley spark out inside three rounds, is a guy who had ten losses on his record going into the fight. Despite this poor form, Harrison, who will be 38 years old next year, still stubbornly refuses to accept his career is over.

It's hard not to feel some sympathy for Audley. He has the courage needed to climb into a boxing ring, which is more than most of us can say, and he does have undeniable skills. But now more than ever, after losing in a fight that was referred to as his final chance to do it, it seems winning his Olympic medal in 2000 is all Harrison is going to be remembered for.

Sadly, it appears, nothing but obscurity awaits the fighter who is now 23-4(17).

Article posted on 07.12.2008



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