Alex Steedman previews Saturday's British Title fight between Audley Harrison and David Price, and our man predicts a knock-out end to the former Olympic champion's career...
Hardened Boxing fans grew weary of Audley Harrison some time ago so what casual observers make of him who knows. But the one-time Olympic champion is back this weekend on Boxnation and amazingly, he's talked himself into another high profile fight too.
At the age of 40, Harrison - availbable to back at 9.617/2 to win the bout - will challenge the giant, young champion David Price (1.121/8) for his newly acquired British Title and most will wonder how he got this chance and whether he deserves it.
Harrison was embarrassed by David Haye in an unlikely tilt at the WBA World title two years ago having failed to throw a punch and he disappeared into the sunset with another lumpy wallet afterwards. What a surprise then when the US resident returned to Britain in May to win his only contest since. Where is Harrison at, what has he left and would his best be good enough anyway are the questions punters will be asking.
It should be stressed that Harrison is not some chump unfit to lace up a pair of gloves, whatever you think of him. He was remember, European champion in 2010 so in a sense Harrison 'earned' the fight against Haye and like that bout, this tempts some fans and punters on a note of curiosity as a domestic attraction. It wouldn't be a surprise though if it ended in similar fashion.
One fight in two years is no sort of preparation for a young buck like Price who shares Haye's appetite for a fight -if not his dynamism- and many consider him heir to the Klitschkos.
Harrison stands a few inches shorter than Price although he outreaches him by four inches as well as holding the southpaw angle too. Harrison has that big left hand too but will he throw it? A-Force was miles behind on the cards till finding a hail-Mary punch to floor Michael Sprott to win his European belt but his eleven round sleepwalk prior to that is something of a familiar refrain; remember the snorathon against Danny Williams?
I suspect that all Harrison brings to the table here is his name along with the remnants of a record - following up on verbal promises has never been a strong point.
Price for his part has done every single thing that has been asked of him and more. A fair amateur who was considered (probably unfairly) mentally weak and chinny, Price has really taken off as a pro in the last year. Since he thumped then unbeaten hope Tom Dallas with a crushing right hand last April, Price has stepped on the gas and rapidly so too.
Sam Sexton, who'd given Dereck Chisora a few problems through nine rounds, was dismantled and brutalized by Price in four swift rounds this May while John McDermott, who gave Tyson Fury hell in two fights, was hammered in a round prior to that.
Price is a big, improving heavyweight who has sparred both the Klitschkos as well as Haye and he is red hot having stopped each of his last seven opponents. The Liverpuddlian is a positive fighter too so you can be sure that while he affords Harrison respect in the build-up, I don't expect the same when that bell goes. Price has gone on record to say that he doesn't have a future is he loses this one and I expect him to fight accordingly.
Some will dream of a big punch from a man drinking in the last chance saloon but we've heard all of that before from Harrison; he simply cannot become a new man, a fighting man at this final stage of his career. Harrison is a big guy who had amateur boxing talent but he's not a fighter.
Price is both and he wants more and that will show. Harrison has only been stopped twice in his career to Sprott and Haye, both in the third round; he's been conservative if not negative ever since the first and he barely threw a punch in the second so his longevity in this fight depends upon how he can kid and fiddle his way through it. I don't think Price will let him.
Price threw an impressive array of punches last time we saw him and unusually for a heavyweight, he mixes work to body and head. There is something predatory about Price and I think he'll look to boss this from the start before bringing it to a climax before halfway.
The Liverpool fan is perhaps a year or so away from moving onto the world stage and while victory over Harrison won't tell us much more about that, it will finally bring the curtain down on Audley's over-paid adventure while ensuring Price moves on with his.