In Boxing News: Audley Harrison and the art of the dud

Almost as if to counterbalance the big holiday weekend for our Christian, Jewish and Moslem brothers and sisters, those of us who pray at boxing’s tabernacle hoping for some sort of miracle were disappointed at how slow things have been, how disappointing and slow Audley Harrison has been, a trend that looks to continue.

Those who haven’t lost complete faith in Aud The Fraud and they can be counted on one hand, if you have three fingers on one hand can thank their lucky stars that Harrison, who cannot, will not, obviously does not want to fight (it increasingly looks like boxing has just been a gambit to make a nice living for himself and to keep his name in lights), is up to offering explanations for his disastrous performance against Dominick Guinn. “I’ve got to re-galvanize myself,” said the 34-year-old British heavyweight. “I wasn’t hurt at all at any time. I just didn’t put my foot on the gas. Given the price of gas these days, who can blame him? “I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board. This ain’t over yet. I’ve got to keep working on it. I’m close, but I just haven’t come over the mountain yet. Be sure to let us know when you come over the mountain. We’ll be in the valley watching and waiting Dan Rafael writes in ESPN that middleweight champion of the world Jermain Taylor is making a major change in his corner just two months before he is to defend his title against Winky Wright in Memphis June 17. Bad Intentions has hired trainer and HBO color commentator Emanuel Steward to serve as a co-trainer with Pat Burns, who has been Taylor’s head trainer his entire pro career. “It happened in the last week or so,” Burns told Rafael. “It’s a done deal. We’re going to start camp in a week and a half, and we will go to Detroit. We will pick Emanuel’s brain.” Steward, who did wonders with Wladimir Klitschko in his last fight against Sam Peter (it’s a wonder fight fans didn’t riot in the face of all that holding), is in Germany preparing K for his heavyweight title fight against Chris Byrd on Saturday and couldn’t be reached for comment. Steward runs the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit and has worked with numerous world champions, including Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed and Thomas Hearns. Taylor’s promoter, Lou DiBella, said “I think Pat has done a terrific job. When you have an opportunity to add someone into a corner the quality of Emanuel Steward, a Hall of Famer, and a proven teacher and strategist, it can’t do anything but be a positive. I am thrilled that Pat remains in the corner and remains an integral part of Team Taylor.” Those aren’t words from the Straight Talk Express exactly, but if Burns was stung by the move, he didn’t let on. “Winky Wright is no walk in the park,” he said. “He’s a smart, good and slick fighter. If this is what it takes to beat Winky Wright, then that is what you have to do. From the publish or perish department via the Manchester Evening News comes word that budding boxing superstar Amir Khan has signed a book deal said to be worth up to £500,000 to tell the story of his life. A Boy from Bolton, to be published by Bloomsbury, is expected to detail everything from Khan’s Pakistani background and his childhood growing up in London’s suburbs to winning a silver medal as a lightweight in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. “I’m thrilled at the prospect of telling my story,” Khan said. “I hope people will enjoy reading about my journey all the way to the Olympic Games and beyond. There were many twists and turns along the way. When I first walked into a gym at eight I had no idea the road would lead to fame and fortune, and a date with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. But it did.” Mike Jones, senior editor at Bloomsbury, said: “He is a role model and, for his 19 years, he bears it very well indeed. His appeal is enormous and crosses generational, cultural and racial divides.” The multi-culti card is indeed worth playing, but what can a 19-year-old, no matter his fistic gifts, have to say that would make his autobiography worth reading? Well, time, and a good ghostwriter, will tell To those who are convinced boxing is an outlaw sport, onetime lightweight boxing champ Paul Spadafora was paroled Monday after serving seven months in a state prison and another six months at a motivational boot camp in Clearfield County after he pleaded guilty in December 2004 to shooting of his girlfriend Nadine Russo. Spadafora, who said he’s an alcoholic and is headed to a rehabilitation center for 30 days, told the court that he shot Russo because he was upset that she flattened two tires on his Hummer. Those are just a couple of the problems that comes with owning a Hummer; the others involve the mindset of someone compelled to drive a tank back and forth to the liquor store in the strip mall. Hopefully Spadafora gets his act together and returns to active duty sooner rather than later. The fight game gets some unwanted advice from the crew at Pro Wrestling Insider. In an article titled How Vince McMahon Can Save Boxing, the WWE’s McMahon, a piece of work if there ever was one, is described as just the man boxing needs to save it from itself (and rapacious promoters and cable giants concerned with short money, not with the game’s longevity). In today’s WWE Vince has become the dirty promoter and can be compared to Don King in many ways, the article states, but Vince has qualities that King doesn’t. McMahon has shown he has what it takes to turn a moribund sideshow like pro wrestling into something so beloved that even kids in their backyards are breaking each other’s necks in emulation of their favorite wrestling stars. The article tells us that King didn’t promote Tyson fights, Tyson did. King just put his name on it. Vince wouldn’t just attach his name to a guy he would guide him. King guided a lot of fighters to a lot of money over the years, but no one seems to have made out as well as Don King. Boxing is a brutal fight, the author continues. Stop having boxers walking around in suits acting well mannered. People don’t want to see the softer side of a fighter. I want to hear a fighter talk about how he is going to kick a guy’s butt. If he is going to be in suits at least tell him to act cocky and conceited. What about the Heavyweight Boxing Championships? Does anyone know or even care who holds them? I don’t and I’m as big a boxing fan as you will ever come across. King hasn’t got a clue how to promote a fight with fighters who can’t promote themselves. King tells us that guy A will fight guy B on this date then sits back praying that the two involved can create some excitement. By the time the fight happens most people have forgotten about it. Vince wouldn’t allow us to forget. As though forgetting, even in a time of mass psychosis, was much of an option.