Boxing: For boxing's sake, Frank must never fight Audley
Tuesday 22 April 2003
Admirers of Frank Bruno, including those who have from time to time been obliged to note the striking dichotomy of his public and private demeanour, have been quick to urge him to abandon his idea of a return to the ring against Audley Harrison.
The most common argument is on the grounds of health. But whose health? Bruno's or boxing's? It is the latter's which would be in most danger.
I note one discernible difference between the careers of Harrison and Bruno, apart from the fact that the former, before he was embraced so ignorantly, and with such an outrageous amount of taxpayers' money, by the BBC, did win an Olympic gold medal.
It is that, while the organisation of Harrison's career has been a travesty causing much damage to the already battered name of the sport, Bruno's was superbly, if cynically, manipulated by Mickey Duff. Bruno made millions on the spurious grounds that he was a genuine world-class heavyweight.
The fact is that after all that careful handling, he won one world-title fight – against the sad and drug-ridden Oliver McCall. In his other world title bouts he was thrashed – by an overweight Tim Witherspoon, a Lennox Lewis who did not start fighting until the fifth round, and twice by Mike Tyson, who on both occasions was giving full rein to the cultivation of a genius for self-destruction.
There are many reasons to wish for the disappearance of Harrison-Bruno. The most pressing is that it would an be an utterly phony fight, like all of Harrison's professional career and the vast majority of Bruno's.
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