Boxing: Harrison's talk is a sideshow to Price potential


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The Independent Online

It should not be about Audley Harrison tonight when he finally, after 12 years and 33 fights, gets the chance to win the British title he once claimed he could win in his first bout.

It should be all about the British heavyweight champion David Price, his future, his hopes and his realistic chances of becoming a huge attraction. But instead Big Aud has once against taken over. He did the same thing when he fought David Haye for the WBA version of the heavyweight title, another night when he was the overwhelming underdog, and he has been doing the same thing throughout his remarkable career in boxing.

Price, who has a share of the promotion, selected Harrison for all the right reasons, knowing that the 40-year-old is arguably the best in the sport at whipping up business when it matters.

Harrison has never stopped believing and has recently revised his assessment of his life in boxing, which is generally considered to be a failure, and now insists that the clock has been turned back and it is 2000 all over again. It is boxing's equivalent of the shower scene with Bobby Ewing in Dallas.

"You see, right now I'm being true to myself," claimed Harrison. "I have the door open and finally I have the knowledge to go through it – it has taken a long time but finally it will happen because the learning curve is over and it's time to fulfil my sporting ambition." Harrison, it turns out, has given the last 12 years of experience to himself as a gift.

Harrison is in a rare position, a position extreme even by the warped standards of modern boxing, because if, as expected, he loses, he will be finished, but if he can use his experience to win then he will end up sharing a ring with a Klitschko brother in a world title next; it is a fight that threatens to redefine 'make or break' with its lunatic alternative endings.

"Audley is so good at talking that I'm even starting to believe him and people I know have started to believe him!" claimed Price, who has fought just 13 times and by his own admission has never met anybody with Harrison's ring credentials. "Look at the facts: Audley won the European title by knocking out a man that had beaten him [Michael Sprott] and his only loss since was in a world title fight [Haye]. Why do some people think it is a walkover?"

Price is right and Harrison with his height, his brain and his jab can make the night competitive, possibly for a long fight, and especially if Price goes looking for glory. It is not a woeful mismatch and it could have some seriously entertaining moments.

Tonight, at just after 9:30pm, Price will walk through 8,000 people at the Echo Arena in his hometown of Liverpool to join Harrison in the ring for the most eagerly awaited British heavyweight title fight for over 20 years.

There will be a bit of jostling and then the bell will sound for the start of his serious career and the end of Harrison's headline dominance of a business that was once his for the taking.

Tale of the tape

David Price/Audley Harrison

29 Age 40

Liverpool Birthplace London

2009 Turned pro 2001

6ft 8in Height 6ft 5.5in

82in Reach 86in

Orthodox Stance Southpaw

13 Fights 33

13 Wins 28

11 KOs 21

0 Losses 5

0 Draws 0

84.62 KO win% 63.64

1-8 Odds 8-1

Bronze in 2008 Olympic medals Gold in 2000

TV Boxnation, tonight from 6.45pm at the Liverpool Echo Arena. Fight scheduled to start at 9.30pm.