Audley with the Prizefighter trophy(pic Lawrence Lustig)
By Clive Bernath: It appears that Audley Harrison is not the only person deluded about his ability to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
Following his second round win over Coleman Barrett to claim the heavyweight lll Prizefighter trophy last Friday night it appears promoter Barry Hearn has-to some degree at least- beamed himself up to ‘Planet Audley’ and bought into the hype.
Speaking about ‘A Force’ Harrison’s victory in last weekend’s Prizefighter at and his future plans for the former Olympic champion Hearn was somewhat honest in his appraisal of Harrison but still believes he has the class to become a champion at the highest level : “Winning Prizefighter is the biggest thing that has happened to Audley Harrison since turning professional and he did it with style and power,” said Hearn. “He showed people he has ability and turned the boos into cheers.
“I’ve watched Audley’s career since he turned professional with an Olympic gold medal around his neck.
“He’s had his critics - I’ve been one of them - who have complained he talks a great fight but doesn’t deliver.
“Audley is a great self-publicist but on Friday he showed he is a great fighter and a potential world-beater.
“His style is infuriating and I would hate to train him as I believe he has a gameplan that he concocts himself and, as usual, listens to nobody.
“The fact is though, he is a class act as every punch that knocked down three different opponents was executed quite beautifully and would’ve had a concussive effect on any heavyweight in the world.
Hearn went even further, suggesting that at the age of 37 and despite never having fought outside of domestic level, Harrison can be fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world inside 12 months.
“If he concentrates on his boxing and allows professionals to do their job properly, then I believe he could get a crack at a world heavyweight title in the next 12 months,” insisted Hearn.
“Lets be honest, time isn’t on his side. He’s coming up to his 38th birthday and few television networks are, at this moment, banging the door down to have him on their station.
“It’s harsh but true so he needs to do a job inside and outside of the ring.
“For me the plan would be simple. A quick warm-up, fight a European challenger, then straight for a world title. Achievable? Yes. Impossible? No. Likely? Who knows? It depends on Audley.”
It is easy to see where Hearn is coming from here. Harrison has always displayed flashes of class and his hand to eye co-ordination has always been second to none which was evident against Scott Belshaw(tko 2),Danny Hughes (pts 3) and Coleman Barrett (tko 2) but there were still serious flaws in all three of his fights. Lets be honest Audley is a talented boxer, always has been but he’s not a fighter in the true sense of the word and there were times in all three fights last Friday when he was cruelly exposed. Harrison may have found the punch to floor six fight novice Danny Hughes but his legs were heavy, there was no urgency to dominate the fight and against Barrett, a much smaller non puncher, he was wobbled and constantly forced onto the back foot. If he is getting exposed by the likes of Barrett and Hughes what would happen if –say David Tua cracked a left hook on his chin? Worse still Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko?
Audley may have won Prizefighter lll, but again being honest and with all due respect-aside from Danny Williams and Scott Gammer, none of the other fighters had fought at anywhere near domestic title level. So how does Barry Hearn think he can weave a safe path towards the heavyweight championship of the world?
Barry Hearn is the most successful Sports promoter in British sporting history. Not only has he promoted some of Britain’s most successful boxers of the last 20 years but is responsible bringing us the very best Snooker, Darts and Pool to our screens so knows how to package and deliver sport to the most knowledgeable sport fan but I’m sorry Barry-Audley is as far away from fighting for the world heavyweight title now as he was when he turned pro in May, 2001
October 6, 2009