• Steve Bunce

Audley won't repeat Haye debacle against Price

Steve Bunce October 9, 2012
Audley Harrison is promising to come out swinging against David Price © Getty Images
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I don't think Audley Harrison can believe he keeps having these resurrections and keeps finding himself in big fights. There was the David Haye world-title bout in November 2010, and now he meets David Price on Saturday in Liverpool.

Because Harrison is such a dominant character, he always becomes the main focus in the build-up: it happened against Haye and it's happening again now. Haye found himself riled by that - but Price has realised it's not about him.

Harrison has given a lot of good interviews over recent weeks, admitting he didn't turn up against Haye (when he was stopped in the third) and conceding he could be blasted away by Price in similar fashion. Even Harrison doesn't know which side of him will turn up.

He predicts he'll knock Price out, but at the same time he's said that on his boxing journey he's realised anything can happen - including him getting KOd in the second round.

That honesty is part of Harrison's charm now. When he started as a pro, he was surrounded by PR people, and I think they made an awful lot of bad mistakes; they turned Audley from an icon and national hero into a hated figure of fun. That forced him to flee this country.

Now we get Harrison coming back as some sort of mad pantomime character - but believe me when I tell you he's like Chris Eubank: the public like him.

So, the big question: will the former Olympic champion come to fight? Well, I've been really impressed with the guys he has drafted in for sparring. He's been working with, among others, Deontay Wilder (25-0), Malik Scott (35-0) and Joe Hanks (20-0). That's an expensive and serious list - and it shows how seriously Harrison is taking Price.

Harrison has promised he will come out swinging - and yes, we've heard it before from him, but this time his career is really on the line. I said post-Haye that he could come back; if he is blitzed by Price, there's no chance. I really think he'll give it a go.

Let me tell you something: Harrison winning is a massive long shot. But if he wins it, he leapfrogs a lot of people and finds himself right in the Klitschko business. Look at the last few guys we've seen fighting for heavyweight titles: Hasim Rahman, Manuel Charr. Harrison would go ahead of all of them and all the Americans if he overcomes Price.

In an ideal world, Harrison will perform how he has in a few of his fights: digging in, showing pride. If that happens, Price will have a fight on his hands for a good few rounds - and Price needs to get rounds under his belt.

However, I can't see past Price winning by early stoppage - but I'd be amazed if it's easy.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.