It isn’t Audley Harrison’s fault Martin Rogan has been forced to withdraw at the eleventh hour but there is an air of inevitability about the doom and gloom surrounding Harrison’s attempt at a comeback. Harrison cannot complain of his misfortune too much, he’s a wealthy man who has lost every fight of meaning in his professional career and aged 36 is very fortunate to be afforded the attention he still attracts.
But his promoters quest to find a man weighing more than 200lbs (1), with a winning record (2) who is willing and available to travel to the UK on one week’s notice (3) will soon require Indiana Jones, such is the paucity of candidates.
His career, now running at 7-long years of stifled progress and calamitous losses, moribund performances, ill advised munching of the hands that fed him and the obvious lack of accolades widely predicted when he won gold in Sydney, is on the precipice. One false move and the gravy-train he once referred to, will become the ghost ship.
Rogan, a fighter who earned his stripes in the Prizefighter tournament, is the type of combatant Harrison needed in about 2002 instead of a parade of less ambitious imported prop-ups but even the gutsy Irishman has now eluded him. It is a sad indictment of Harrison’s self-management that the gold medal he thumped his way to in 2000 looks likely to be the ultimate and solitary achievement in his career. At 6-6, 250 pounds and a southpaw in a shallow division, the path to a world-title shot should have been easier to travel than it has proved.
For all his critics, and he has plenty, Frank Warren would have guided him to that shot two years ago. Unquestionably. Even now, with a series of defeats and a loss of public support it isn’t beyond the powers of Frank Warren to manoeuvre Harrison in to a title shot and though he has failed repeatedly to demonstrate the fortitude and stoutness of heart to grasp such an opportunity with both hands, he could still beat the ‘right’ champion.
Now, almost back at the beginning, Harrison’s handlers are sifting through the Cliff Cousers and the Zuri Lawrences to find someone who fits the said 3 point criteria and the unspoken 4th. For the unitiated, the 4th is not to pose too much of a threat to Harrison’s fragile significance in the heavyweight landscape.
The latest whisper on the Internet, and without the time to ask Frank Warren – who doubtless wouldn’t wish to show his hand anyway – is George Arias. A Brazilian with some experience at sub-European title level.
Now which one of the four corners of the Earth would Brazil count as?
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