Audley Harrison looked so good. Standing 6’ 5 ½” and weighing 255 solid pounds the hard hitting southpaw tempted many who though that “A Force” could be crowned king at the prom.
He had the moves, showing nice footwork popping up and down on his tippy-toes, circling opponents as he pecked away before dimming the lights on them with a straight left.
Mom and Dad would be proud too, being in the presence of such a regal gentleman as British folk are often known to be. Harrison could boast of being academically refined with his Bachelor of Science (Hons) and tell the grandchildren how he became the first British Heavyweight in 32 years to take the Olympic Gold medal at the 2000 Sydney games.
But then the big chance at the dance came . . . and Audley stayed put.
The fighter who was 17-0 with 14 knockouts wouldn’t answer the call. First he went back to England under pressure to fight Danny Williams and forgot all his moves. They loved to hate Audley over in Britain as he fell short of high expectations that he helped create. He claimed that political issues in the business of boxing forced him to leave England for the United States, yet when he returned to face the local veteran Williams he found a country that had turned its back.
Williams took a split decision over Harrison on December of 2005 in a bout that lacked any fire despite the personal ill will the two fighters expressed for one another. So listless was the performance of “A Force” that the BBC and other media outlets began to chastise Harrison without end. “A Farce” was his new nickname and Audley became known as “Fraudley” Harrison.
Back to the USA went Harrison with another chance at making his mark in the sport beyond Olympic glory. Most folks in America likely wouldn’t have see his uninspired performance against Williams and this past Friday there was a shot on television again to restore his creditability facing fellow heavy disappointment Dominick Guinn. In terms of how close the two were matched it was interesting on paper, but looking at the fight from an entertainment perspective left much to be desired.
Without building up suspense that never existed, Guinn won a slow waltz over Harrison as he simply did what Audley refused to do – throw punches. When Harrison did bother to box, he gave the impression that behind a meaningful jab and heavy left hand following it up, the bout could have been his. Those moments were few and far as “A Farce” chose to paw with the jab or, even worse, allow the much shorter Guinn to walk straight in punching range undeterred.
Harrison wasn’t misled as to how to win the fight, he was getting the correct advice. One could feel the frustration of his corner when the ESPN crew spoke with Kenny Croom during the bout. Croom tried to hold back but said, paraphrasing, “I’m telling the kid to just keep the distance, throw one-two’s, and it’ll be and easy fight for him, but he won’t do it. He won’t let his hands go!” Harrison was invited to the heavyweight party but refused to dance, and now the chance that he will be invited back once more seems to have passed him by for good.
After the setback to Danny Williams, Audley Harrison’s website posted a note that:
Although his last fight ended with a close split decision loss to former world heavyweight title challenger Danny Williams, Audley Harrison is eager to get back to winning ways and show that he can become the future of the Heavyweight division.
After his second consecutive defeat, Audley Harrison is the past.