A real-life Rocky or deluded dreamer who just won't quit? Audley Harrison, the man that fight fans love to hate, takes another shot at redemption in Prizefighter: International Heavyweights on Saturday.
'Don't expect a word out of me before the night. I won’t be saying anything at the pre-fight media events. This time I will be doing my talking with my fists.'
That's quite a statement from a man who loves to talk as much much as Audley Harrison does, but then Big Audley has reached a point in his career where there is very little left to say, even for for him. After devastating, and some would maintain humiliating, defeats to David Haye and David Price, Harrison needs at minimum a credible performance in an event that has already saved his career once.
He lifted the Prizefighter trophy back in 2009 and parlayed the win into a fight with Haye, an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing and, after defeat in 81 seconds to Price, a beckoning afterlife as an affable reality show staple. Yet Harrison, now 41, wasn't prepared to accept so gentle a fate. He has convinced himself that the Price fight came too early for him after almost two years of inactivity save for a knock-over win against the lightly-regarded Ali Adams. 'It was a simple mistake; if I fight him again, that could be rectified.'
A rematch with the upwardly mobile Price is almost inconceivable, but you can never say never in boxing, and Harrison still possesses one priceless quality: he sells tickets. Promoter Eddie Hearn noted that this edition of Prizefighter was sold right out within three days. And Audley will not be overmatched in a nonetheless creditable field assembled by Hearn. Another previous winner, the durable crowd-favourite Martin Rogan appears, alongside knock-out artist Travis Walker, the weighty Pole Albert Sosnowski, Claus Bertino, Timo Hoffmann, Derric Rossy and Ian Lewison.
Harrison can legitimately claim to have operated at a level or two above all of them, and if he can beat his demons and make use of his fast and powerful left hand, the A-Force bandwagon might be back on the road once again, at least domestically.
So go on, you know you want to watch him try, don't you...
Don't expect a word out of me before the night. This time I will be doing my talking with my fists.