In an era before nutritionists, public relations and conditioners, during that simplistic period when heavyweights ran, hit-bag, sparred, chopped wood and often took a stiff drink or three the night before a fight it is hard to imagine how they would have viewed the flimsy media battle being contested by heavyweight trio David Haye, Klitschko and heaven help us Audley Harrison. It may be nostalgic romanticism to suggest fighters like Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries simply signed to fight an opponent, trained and then settled it in an often gruelling, unforgiving fight, but it is with some confidence that I propose they wouldn’t have been comfortable with the shallow misinformation all parties appear to be peddling even if avoiding opponents is an oft-overlooked aspect of boxing at the beginning of the 20th century too.
Quite how Audley Harrison has even attached his name to the debate is beyond the comprehension of anyone who has witnessed his career in anything other than the final 25 seconds of his last bout. The credibility of his announced dialogue with the two powerhouses in the heavyweight division was first scoffed at, then scorned and now, it seems, reluctantly accepted. A pile of financial, geographical and circumstantial viability being hastily compiled to counterbalance the absence of any fistic qualification.
Should a bout be belatedly negotiated between Haye and either of the two Ukrainian champions, it will force observers to recategorise Harrison’s decision to drop the European title he won beating Michael Sprott from the hasty and naive, to the downright stupid. Though Harrison believes he still has the caveat of a mandated shot at the vacated belt it struck this observer as overly confident given the history of firstly Haye in taking new directions when already publically committed to a bout and the plethora of options the Klitschko’s have when it is rumoured Vitaly earned millions for a defence against a fighter as obscure as Albert Sosnowski.
However, among the bluff, counter bluff and fog the various parties have dispensed this past few weeks not to mention the uncharacteristic silence from the Hayemaker camp one wonders if there is a fight amid to be found?
I do hope so. For all the critics and sceptics, the much-maligned Haye v Harrison idea would sell and has the whiff of inevitability.