Stubborn, defiant, belligerent, delusional? Audley Harrison, staring at 3 defeats in his last 5 fights, remains confident he will return better than ever and at championship level from his latest setback. True the punch that flattened him this time was a cracker, with the small caveat that Sprott isn’t known as a devastating puncher, but alongside his conspicuous knockdown to a glancing blow from Danny Williams and the shiver light-punching Mark Krence sent down his spine, the furthering of his fistic career will be done without the security of an iron chin.
Ben Cohen, of Seconds Out, wrote an interesting piece earlier this week defending Harrison on the premise his new aggressive style, employed to regain fan support, left him open to counter shots just like the one Sprott detonated last weekend and the booing that welcomed his demise was unfair and unjust. I have some sympathy with that view. Harrison has worked hard to become a front-foot fighter and emboldened by the reviews of his victory over Danny Williams certainly set out to stop Michael Sprott and entertain the crowd in the process.
Such explainations or debate is largely futile, and serves only to throw a veneer of creditablity over an inescapable truth, Harrison has wasted talent and time in equal measure in the past six years. Now aged 35, even in the geriatric confines of the 2007 heavyweight division, his status as a prospect is now at an end. Instead he must look to blue-collar contemporaries like Sprott, who toiled away from the limelight and away from home to secure purses and opportunity for progress. Against the odds he secured victories on foreign fields and landed the dream shot versus Harrison. I’m not sure Harrison has the time, humility or ability to survive those perilous conditions and rebound beyond the current domestic class he’s failing in.
In a statement available through his website, Harrison is certainly more phlegmatic about his present standing, increasingly humble – though he has little choice with a raft of defeats to his name – and one has to concede his willingness to climb back in the saddle suggests there is more than simply money driving him forward.
Click over to www.audleyharrison.com for the full statement, but in the meantime, the pick of the quotes and possibly the most revealing about Harrison’s state of mind is the last one:
“I am sure the paying public will be curious to see this crazy guy whose career is effectively over, trying to kid himself, getting in there with nothing left but ego and fools pride. And the question is; how will it end? Will it be as the papers say or will I rise from the ashes once more to deliver on my promises?
I truly feel blessed with my life and although I lost the fight, I won’t lose the lesson.”
Some truth there. For the foreseeable future Harrison remains a draw, rather like the tabloid downfall of a celebrity, many will revel in seeing the huge egotist crash still further from the dizzy heights, Harrison too often opined, were destined to be his – perhaps, like predeccesors Eubank and Bruno, defeat can endear him to the people. It might take another one yet.