Audley Harriison and David Haye face off (pic Lawrence Lustig)
By Clive Bernath: Lets be honest, David Haye has heaped an enormous amount of pressure on his broad shoulders ahead of his November 13 clash with bitter rival Audley Harrison.
Since moving up from Cruiserweight the 29 year-old Londoner has as much fought his way to the heavyweight champion of the world as he has talked his way through the division.
Even by boxing’s at times non existent moral and undignified standards, Haye’s trash talking and lack of respect for his heavyweight rivals has been at times nothing short of disgraceful. We have already witnessed the Haye hype machine first hand when verbally assaulting both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko and then giant 7ft Russian Nikolay Valuev, whom he dethroned to claim the WBA heavyweight crown.
At Tuesday’s press conference it was Harrison’s turn to be insulted. A fired up Haye let go with both barrels, saying: "I am not even considering losing this fight (to Harrison). I have worked too hard to be beaten by someone like Audley Harrison. I am not only going to beat him, I am going to humiliate him, destroy him and then retire him.
"I am going to have to be better than ever for this fight. He has got his chance but he is not going to be able to do anything with it, I am going to expose him once again. This will be a public execution, trust me?
"Everybody feels passionately that they want me to finally close the curtain on the joke that is the Audley Harrison show.”
Harrison too has never been backward in coming forward when it comes to making himself heard so it was no surprise when he countered:” I have tasted his punches and power and he never hurt me once in a training sessions, “ insisted Harrison.
"This is my destiny - on 13 November Audley Harrison will be champion of the world and of that there is no doubt.
"If David Haye thinks I’ve taken this fight strictly for a payday, he is in for a rude awakening. I will be there for every second of every round, believe me”.
All the talk aside as I said at the beginning David has made it clear he cannot see any way at all that he can lose and of course fighters never contemplate defeat but is he maybe making the mistake of being too confident? And if the unthinkable does happen and he loses to a ‘Joke’ there will be no place to hide.
The bookies make Haye a firm 1/10 betting favourite to win compared to Harrison’s 11/2, and quite right given the form guide but maybe, just maybe Harrison can produce the unthinkable and become WBA heavyweight champ? Before I’m the one being accused of being ‘Delusional’, hear me out.
We all know that Audley can talk a good fight. After all he’s had enough practise over the years and has rarely delivered. I maybe wrong but on Tuesday he just seemed to conduct himself in a far more controlled and confident manner than he has ever done before and if anyone won the battle of the mind games it was him. David for his part, was his usual confident self but there were times when he looked on edge and unsettled, suggesting Audley may just be getting his back up, even at this early stage of the build up. The confidence was there with David but there was also a hint of overriding anger and bitterness.
And lets not forget that these are two fighters that know each other’s styles very well. They know how each other think, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Granted, Audley was behind on the scorecards before he knocked out Michael Sprott in the 12th and final round back in April but he found a way to win when his back was to the wall. He also showed remarkable courage, the courage of a man that knew not only defeat was staring him in the face but also the end of his career. Credit where its due, Audley found a way to win. And maybe, just maybe, the win over Sprott has given him the confidence to deliver a performance we all know he is capable of.
Outside of the UK, this fight means absolutely nothing and win lose or draw Haye has nothing to gain but to British fight fans its massive and will sell very well.
Harrison has everything to gain and nothing to lose, maybe that’s why he’s so relaxed at the moment. This is also the final hurdle Harrison needs to overcome to achieve his goal, meaning he can relax and let his punches go. He has been accused of being delusional, nick named ’fraudley’ and been ridiculed at every turn. And lets be honest, pretty much all the criticism aimed his way has been justified, but what better way to silence his critics than dethrone David Haye and win the WBA heavyweight crown?
September 9, 2010