By Ben Carey
Audley Harrison has criticised the manner of David Haye’s world heavyweight title winning effort against Nikolai Valuev and claims that the ‘Hayemaker’ still has much to do to convince sceptics in America.
Writing on his official website, Harrison comments, “After David’s (Haye’s) snooze-fest to win the title and Vitali’s (Klitschko’s) lacklustre defence against blank bullets Kevin Johnson, who speaks more than me, I can see how critics get frustrated with the heavyweight division.”
“I am surprised how the media can’t keep it real when it comes to other fighters. Anyone who knows boxing acknowledges David (Haye) got a gift with Valuev and understands he is NOT the saviour of the division,” claimed Harrison
“His (Haye’s) trash talking is good, as it brings attention, but here in America (where Harrison resides), David’s performance was heavily criticised, as many thought he did not do enough to win,” he continued.
“I am still pleased he got the result, but he needs a solid win against (John) Ruiz (Haye’s mandatory challenger for the WBA title) if he wants the American networks to throw money his way. I can tell him that HBO’s darling is Chris Arreola and they will make David fight him, if he wants HBO money,” reckoned Harrison.
Whilst it’s hard not to disagree with Harrison’s frank assessment of the Haye-Valuev and Klitschko-Johnson contests, the Olympic gold medallist’s comments smack of jealously as he reflects on his own unfulfilled ambitions in comparison.
By his own admission, 2010 is make or break for Harrison as he aims to build on his October Prizefighter tournament success which has breathed fresh life into a career which many thought was over following his losses to Michael Sprott and Martin Rogan. A European title crack at the newly crowned Pole Albert Sosnowski, who easily outpointed Paolo Vidoz to capture the vacant title at the York Hall on Friday night, could happen early next year.
“I was supposed to be on the card at York Hall (last Friday), but the powers that be decided against it, which was frustrating. I had been in the gym for three weeks before the decision was made. 2010 is make or break, so I’ll be giving it my all to make a real impact and achieve my goals,” said Harrison.
“Expect to see some good quality heavyweights matches next year, as the Klitschko brothers, Chambers, Povetkin, Tua, Haye and yours truly all have potentially exciting match ups,” he added.
It’s a big if, but IF Harrison can overcome Sosnowski and win the European title and Haye can see off mandatory challenger John Ruiz in the spring, a Haye-Harrison all British clash could be a possibility for next summer. Naturally, Haye’s preference is to entice either of the Klitschko brothers into the ring with him but, realistically, this may not happen until next autumn at the earliest.
Given the ill-feeling between Haye and Harrison (arising from Harrison’s claims that Haye ‘took liberties’ with him during a sparring session in 2006), Haye may relish the chance to cement his position as the nation’s new poster boy by finally ending the career of British Boxing’s most revered pantomime baddy of recent times. A Haye-Harrison fight would definitely sell at the gate, too. Watch this space, as they say.
To read the remainder of Harrison’s comments, which include a predictable swipe at longtime rival Danny Williams, visit www.audleyharrison.com