Last night we finally saw the end of Audley Harrison’s long and arduous career in professional boxing at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, when he went into the ring with David Price to challenge for the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles. For some reason this was being billed as the biggest British Heavyweight Title fight in 2 decades by promoters and the press? In the pre fight hype, Audley tried to convince the boxing community and Himself that he will dig deep and throw everything at the younger Olympic Bronze Medalist David Price. As usual Harrison did everything he could at promoting his ‘last chance saloon’ at winning such a belt, but his words fell on very deaf ears-mine included. There was allot of respect from both camps prior to the first (and only) bell of the fight, which was good to see, as they both showed what professional boxing pre hype should be. However the end result was pretty dire.
Audley came out to the Rocky theme tune with the usual booing response from the crowd from Liverpool, who were only there to see him get knocked out by Price, and when David made his entrance to the ring the packed Echo Arena erupted in support of the young Champion. The fight started with Harrison looking absolutely petrified of his opponent who stood 6ft8” and tried a few jabs which were brushed off by Price, who countered and suddenly landed a few shots to Harrisons head which rocked the challenger to his boots. All of a sudden in the 60th second, Price lept on Harrison against the ropes with some precision shots to the head which sent Audley reeling to the canvas for the final time in his career as a contender. The referee didn’t even bother counting as Harrison was out cold in the 81st second and David Price raised his arms the winner and still Champion in what was to be one of the shortest heavyweight titile fights I had ever seen. Price was extremely respectful in his celebrations as it appeared that Harrison was badly injured from the short, but destructive onslaught in the opening round. The fight was over and when Audley finally came around, he left the ring very quickly and gave no interview to the Boxnation pundits at ringside.
So what now for Price? Surely he is now in contention of getting an opportunity at a World Title challenge against one of the Klitschko’s in the not too distant future, or as Frank Malony was saying about a possible British domestic fight against Tyson Fury (see next blog for my comments on this one) There are a few British fighters who could be lined up next for David, but after the last few fights he has had, and being the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion surely Povetkin Hellenius or Chisora would be a good platform for a warm up against one of the greatest Heavyweight Champions from the Klitschko family? I believe that we might now have a true British contender who might be able to give either Klitschko a run for their money, especially as there appears to be no one else in the division that they haven’t beaten, or who has much of a chance against the mighty brothers.
As far as Audley Harrison, well what can I say except that he won Britain the Olympic Gold Medal which cannot be sniffed at, but as a professional he really hasen’t performed as promised when he won the medal in 2000 in Sydney.I have never been a fan since seeing him on Question of Sport shortly after this win and was not impressed at the cocky attitude of him stating he will win the World Title within 2 years of his Olympic Gold win. I have followed his career with some hope that he might be able to produce a descent win at world level, but is never materialised. He has been in some good fights against Matt Skelton and DannyWilliams (not the first one though. I was there!) but he has never recovered from his own admitted fears in the ring, especially after the destructive knock out at the hands of Michael Sprott at Wembley arena. What ever is next for Audley, I just hope it doesen’t involve any kind of comeback.