Boxing


Audley Harrison: ďDavid Haye is going to be fighting scared because he knows Iím coming for himĒ

by Geoffrey Ciani - This weekís 94th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former Olympic Gold Medalist Audley Harrison (27-4, 20 KOs) who is preparing to challenge WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (24-1, 22 KOs) on November 13. Harrison spoke about his upcoming fight and also provided insight and opinions on his career and other matters pertaining to the current boxing landscape. Here is what he had to say:

On training and preparations for his November 13 title shot against David Haye:

ďTraining is going excellent. Iím in Big Bear, California in the mountains. Yeah, training is going very well. November the 13th I know 100% Iím going to be shocking the boxing world, and it will be no shock to me. When I went to the Olympics in 2000, I told everyone I was going to win the Gold Medal. Everyone said, ĎYeah right, it hasnít been done in 32 yearsí. They thought I was crazy. History is going to repeat itself on November the 13th when I knockout David Haye.Ē

On his decision to start training over in the United States:

ďWell if anybody knows my story, I left England in 2004. Iíve been based in America since 2004 and actually from the Olympic when I signed up with Thel Torrence, I used to have my training camps in America for six weeks and then come back over. So Iíve been fulltime in America since 2004, in Vegas first and now Iím in California. So this is where I live and this is where I train. Actually I live in a nice part of California, in West Lake Village. But for this fight and for most of my fights I go away for camp. Pay the price and live the life of a fighter.Ē

His views on how his relationship with David Haye fell apart and how this fight against him came to be:

ďWell in the beginning of my career, I was self-promoted and self-managed and independent. It was always my goal when I turned professional, I said my blueprint is that I donít want to be with any promoter. I want to be my own manager and my own promoter, and thatís what Iíve done. I negotiated a deal with the BBC. Some of my shows, I had seventeen shows live on the BBC, and on five of those shows I put David on the under card. He fought on five of my shows. You got to imagine, when I won the Olympics, Lennox Lewis reached out to me and we became good friends. He became a kind of mentor for me, and David Haye was like eighteen years old nineteen years old, and I became a mentor for David Haye. He is somebody I took under my wing and I showed him the game of boxing out of the ring on the business side, and a lot of stuff he learned in the ring from me as well. But if you look at the whole Hayemaker Promotions and his whole production, thatís a product of my schooling.

Basically what happened was, after I lost to Martin Rogan, I reached out to David Haye to put me on his show now that he had his own dates with Setanta. Using my model, he got his own dates with Setanta, and he said, ĎYeah, Iíll put you oní. Then he basically just cut me off, and he didnít get back to me and made up some rubbish about how it was going to cost him money to put me on the show which was all BS, because really I didnít even want to be paid any money to go on the show. I just wanted an opportunity to come back. So thatís when we really fell out, when David showed me his true colors that he would backstab a friend.

So I called him out. That was 2008, I called him out. I said, ĎOkay David, Iím aiming for youí and itís taken me two years to get in that ring, but I said destiny is going to bring me and David Haye in the ring together. Everybody said, ĎAh, this guyís crazy and delusionalí, but I knew. I knew destiny would put me and David Haye in the ring at some point, because you reap what you sow and karma is about to slap him in the face on November 13, because Iíve been nothing but a friend to the guy and Iíve been nothing but somebody whoís shown him the game, just like Lennox has shown me the game. He used it for his own devices, and when I reached out to him he wasnít there for me. So thatís the story behind me and David Haye.

His views on David Hayeís comments in the lead up to this fight:

ďYou know what, at the end of the day what David Haye doesnít realize is, is that where he is Iíve been there. When I came out of the Olympics, I was the biggest thing since sliced bread. I was bigger than David Haye, far bigger than David Haye, but with my ego nobody could tell me anything. So every time people were telling me to calm it down, play the game more, I refused because I had my own pathway and I wanted to learn my own lessons. So when I look at David Haye part of me just chuckles, part of me shakes my head, and part of me just knows he is going to have a big fall on November 13. He canít see it yet, but itís actually going to be the best thing to happen to David Haye.

I bet you all of the people, his friends and his family they want to see him get beat because heís probably a pain in the arse right about now because he thinks heís invincible. Heís forgetting, David Hayeís not Floyd Mayweather or unbeaten. David Hayeís already been knocked out by light heavyweights and cruiserweights have knocked him down, but itís just his ego right about now is so high he thinks heís untouchable so he thinks he can say what he likes, be what he likes, and do what he likes. But on November 13 heís going to get a big chunk of karma and it should be good for him.

Hopefully heíll take the beating like a man and heíll get his ego in check and it will actually be a good think for David Haye where he can improve as a father, a husband, and a person, and grow. Thatís what happened to me in 2000. I had to grow and learn from my lessons, and I think David Haye is going to be in that same situation on November 14th when he wakes up without his belt, and heís going to have to face the public. Itís going to be a huge come down for him, and hopefully heís strong enough to come through it.Ē

His views on David Haye as a boxer and how he regards his boxing achievements:

ďYeah, you got to give him credit. He took a step up with Carl Thompson and got exposed. Heís been able to build off of that and come back strong, and obviously going on to win the cruiserweight title and becoming the undisputed champion. You have to take your hat off to him for what heís achieved. Stepping up to heavyweight, he did win the belt from Valuev and had a couple of defenses. Yeah, you take your hat off to him, but I think anybody whoís got any sense and knows anything about boxing knows that as much as David is exciting and he brings a lot of power and speed into the game, he is still the same vulnerable David Haye who get knocked out at eighteen years old by a guy called Jim Twite at light heavyweight.

David hasnít changed, because the difference between somebody like me and David Haye is Iíve had teachers train me. I turned professional, I signed with Thel Torrence, I brought Thel over as my trainer, I worked with Buddy McGirt for a little, and now Iím working with Shaheed Saluki. You can trace these guys training back 100 years. You know David Hayeís still with Adam Booth. So the problem from David Haye is I know David Haye better than he knows himself. Heís a good fighter. Heís got a lot of skills and a lot of talent, but he makes a lot of fundamental mistakes that somebody like me, whoís well experienced now and had my knocks, it going to be out to exploit.

So David Haye to me, heís a front runner. You know David Haye gets ahead, he builds a big lead up, and he looks to take you out. Yeah, but put David Haye in a fight where heís behind and he has to come back. You donít see that from David Haye. The fights where heís fought and heís had to come from behind where he started up quick, even when he fought in the amateurs when Odlanier Solis, Carl Thompson. You know many times you look at David Haye when he fights, you know heís come through. Heís improved, definitely. When he fought Mormeck he got hurt. He came through that, but David Hayeís going to get hurt in this fight.

I promise David Haye that heís not going to be able to punch me and not take anything back, and thatís going to be the difference in this fight. David Haye, he thinks he has so much skill and so much speed that heíll be able to dance away, hit me, and dance away. No. David Haye is like a thief in the night. He hits you, but he doesnít want to take any punches. He does anything to duck and dive and miss a punch, and then he just wants to hit you. At the end of the day, my left hand I believe is bigger than David Hayeís right hand. At some point my left hand is going to land on his chin and itís night over. So I take my hat off to him for everything heís achieved in his career. Heís achieved his goals. I havenít achieved my goals, yet. So you have to take your hat off to him for what heís achieved. Heís definitely brought excitement back to the heavyweight division in Britain, but I think for the rest of the world heís been a bit of a disappointment because heís talked a good game and he hasnít backed it.Ē

His views on criticisms David Haye has made about his chin:

ďRight, I mean Iíve been down. At the end of the day, I donít really care what the critics say or what the so-called experts say, because for me they havenít got a clue most of them of what theyíre talking about. People who really know boxing, Iíve had those people supporting me all the way through my career and theyíre still supporting me because they can see something definitely happen when I fell of the game, but Iíve worked myself back. Now getting knocked out by Michael Sprott, I feel no qualms about that at all. Michael Sprott is a good domestic journeyman, European standard. I knocked him down in the first round looking beautiful. The first round, and if you look at the combination where I knocked Michael Sprott down it was world class. He came back well, he was under pressure, and he caught me with a really good shot on the chin. No complaints, that would have knocked out most people.

But as youíve seen in my career, amateur and professional, Iíve been knocked out one time. Danny Williams put me down for the first time in a shocker of a fight for me. It was a shocker of a fight for me and I didnít even turn up, but still I got up, didnít quit, and I almost got rid of Danny in the next round. So I got no worries about my chin. I know Iím going to have to take punches in this fight and Iím prepared to. David Haye, I donít think heís prepared to take punches in this fight and he better be, because thatís going to be the difference.Ē

On whether the fact that many experts are counting him out has given him any extra motivation:

ďNo, it doesnít give any extra motivation for me. What people need to realize is Iím on my own journey. He who has his own map needs no path. I donít need to follow anyone elseís pathway. I donít need to follow anyone elseís direction or guidance. Yeah, Iíve got people I reach out to for advice, people I respect, people in the game who have been there. But Iíve learned my own lessons, Iíve licked my own wounds, and Iíve climbed my own mountains. So the people whoíve got something to say who think Iím just a victim, thatís great for me because theyíre just making me more great. When I went to the Olympics I knew I would win the Gold Medal, but the fact that everyone didnít think I could do it, when I came back I became even greater. I got more publicity, I became an MBE a member of the British Empire, was able to sign my own deal with the BBC to become overnight financially secure for the rest of my life.

November the 13th when I knockout David Haye, everyone is going to be like, ĎWow, thatís amazing, how did this so-called journeyman, a guy who hasnít achieved his goals so far, a guy who canít perform and has no heart, how did he do it?í Because perception is not reality, thatís what people do not understand. Perception is not reality. Like the perception of the people on the East Side Boxing Forums, for exampleówho are they? What do they know about boxing? Have they ever taken a punch? Have they ever been in the ring? What are these so called journalists? They donít know anything about boxing.

Actually I got a message today from a guy who was in the corner of Martin Rogan. Those are the people. He sent me a message today saying, ĎAudley, I was told before you fought Martin Rogan that you got no heart and youíre a quitter. After you stood in there with Martin RoganÖ.í, who yeah, he was a taxi man who was as tough as nails. I didnít give the guy any credit. I thought it was going to be an easy nightís work, but I stood in there and banged with him. I thought I won the decision and didnít get it, but he said, ĎAudley, you showed heart in that fight and I never questioned your heart again after what you showed in that fightí. Now Martin Rogan went on and knocked out Matt Skelton after that fight.

Everyone said, ĎOh Audley, you lost to a taxi man in 2008í. I lost to a guy who was tough as nails, stood there with him, banged him, hurt him three or four times. I should have gotten rid of him. Yeah, I underestimated him. Yeah, they gave him a decision on a Frank Warren show, but the reality is, I have never complained. I took my knocks, licked my wounds, and learned the game of boxing through adversity. See the difference is, Iíve had losses. I corrected two of them to Danny and Michael Sprott, and Iíve always been up to learn a lesson. Had I ever gotten in to that ring and been beat up by somebody and totally outclassed and out of my league, then Iíd know that I reached my limit. As you have seen with the Danny Williams rematch, I destroyed him in three rounds and Danny trained for eight weeks, even though the perception was he trained for eight days. He was on the under card. He had trained for eight weeks, and Michael Sprott, I fought him with one hand for eight rounds and knocked him out in the last round.

So all of those things build your character, all of the negativity thatís been written about me builds your character. So when I go in there on November 13th, Iíve got nothing to fear and Iíve got everything to gain so David Haye is going to be in for the fight of his life. But the thing about it is, whatever David Haye is telling you guys, remember, I know David Haye better than he knows himself. Trust me when I tell you this, David Haye is training the hardest heís ever trained in his life, because he knows whoís turning up and he knows heís going to be in the fight of his life. He knows that. I know David Haye is going to come in light, fast, and fit. Forget what he says publically. Trust me when I say it, David Haye is going to be fighting scared because he knows Iím coming for him.Ē

On whether he feels he has greater stamina than David Haye and whether he feels this will play a factor in the fight:

ďWell definitely Iím expecting a fast paced fight, but what Iím promising David Haye is Iím going to be in his face every second of every minute of every round, because I know David Haye likes to work in spurts and I also know that David Haye doesnít like taking big punches, definitely not from a big powerful heavyweight like me. So heís going to try and move around punching when he wants to punch me, and Iím going to make David Hayeóremember, listen this is man against boy. You understand. Iím going to take David to the school of boxing. Itís called the sweet science for a reason, and on November 13 youíre going to see the masteróthe guy who learned how to fight through adversity. Heís lost five. People have written him off. Iíve never give up hope. Iíve always kept belief in myself. Iíve always worked with the best of the best trainers which taught me how to fight. I know that square ring far better than David Haye.

David Haye knows how to punch. He knows how to move, but Iím going to give David Haye a lesson in the sweet science on November 13 and itís going to be so beautiful to watch and itís going to be so beautiful to see when David Haye comes tumbling down at the feet of Audley Harrison. So yeah, heís fit, Yeah, heís learned to pace himself better. Heís a puncher, so heís always looking to gun at you and heís always looking to shoot. So guys like that they get tired, because they put everything into their punches. And if he doesnít put everything into his punches and he tries to box and slow down, he makes it even easier for me.

So whatever David Haye brings on that day, Iím going to have an answer for him, because trust me when I tell you thisómy destiny is my time to come back and shine. Remember, me falling from the grace of boxing had nothing to do with boxing. That was the bigger picture about just where I was in my life with my ego and I had to be brought back down to earth just so I can humble myself and find balance in my life. You see, David is about to experience the same thing after I take him out on the 13th, because life in boxing, boxing is not the complete picture of life. Boxing is what we do as sportsmen. Itís a big part of my life, but itís not my whole life so I had to get that balance.

David Haye is just out there now running around. Heís got his own magazine out with pictures of him dressed up as a woman, wearing high heeled shoes. Davidís confused right about now and I need to knock some sense into him, and after Iíve knocked some sense into him heíll probably start calling me up again for advice.Ē

His views on reports that David Haye turned down a 50-50 offer to face Wladimir Klitschko:

ďYou know what, to be honest Iím not sure. Iím not sure, and the reason why Iím not sure is because I had to deal with a difficult negotiation with David and I see how difficult heís become. But basically, a lot of what heís doing is what I taught him. So yeah, heís become difficult, but I know if heís doing things how I told him to do things, then itís not necessarily about getting the most money but itís about getting the best deal and with the least options and not being tied in. I mean, I know the deal I got with David Haye, yeah okay, Iíve got to give him a rematch but then Iím a free man. You understand?

So I know how I do business, and I know how Iíve taught David Haye how he does business. Iím not giving him any credit, but I know how he negotiates. I know what heís looking for in deals based on what Iíve shown him about deals, and I donít think heís walked away from the deal because of money and it might not necessarily be because he doesnít want to fight him. It could simply be because his ego is so high at the moment and heís not prepared to give away options or anything else like that because of where heís at in his career. I donít know the terms of the deal, but I just know how David Haye is in his mind at this moment. A lot of it, like I said, is from my blueprint. If Iím doing any deal with anybody else, Iím not signing off any options with nobody either than one, maybe two, and that would break down a deal rather than any money Iím getting. See what Iím saying?Ē

His views on the upcoming WBC heavyweight title fight between champion Vitali Klitschko and challenger Shannon Briggs:

ďWell, I think with the two, a fight just happened with Samuel Peter and Wladimir and then Vitali and Shannon Briggs. If youíre a real boxing fan, you got to say the fight between Audley Harrison and David Haye has far more intrigue than either Klitschkoís defenses. So Wladimir came out or one of them came out and said this is just a London fight, I totally disagree with that. This is a world title fight between an Olympic championóIím not Audley Harrison the bakerís son, Iím Audley Harrison the Olympic champion. Iím a former European champion. I worked hard to get back in the game and I deserve this shot far more so than Shannon Briggs, whoís been fighting three or four potato cans. Heís done nothing to earn a shot. They basically just picked him, and Samuel Peter has really been fighting no big guys to get himself back in position. So really, this fight is the best fight of three championship fights coming up. There is far more intrigue, far more interest, and there should be far more money on the table.

So with the Vitali Klitscko-Shannon Briggs fight, well it depends on what Shannon Briggs shows up. If Shannon Briggs is just turning up for a payday, the fight will be over in three rounds. Shannon Briggs has shown nothing in the ring really since Lennox Lewis. He fought great when he fought Lennox Lewis, but how long ago was that? When he fought Sergei Liakhovich it was a waste of time. When he fought Ibragimov it was a waste of time. So Shannon Briggs hasnít shown anything at the top level. He hasnít shown that he wants it and if he really does want it he can make it interesting for a couple of rounds, and if he doesnít want it the fightís a waste of time. Itís a waste of time. Itís not even fight that people really want to watch. Talk about a world title fight that you want to watch. If Shannon Briggs doesnít really go for it, you know, weíve seen how many of the Americans whoíve boxed for world titles recently and itís just been a disgrace.

One thing I can guarantee you, I will guarantee to David Haye I am going in there all-or-nothing, shit-or-bust, do-or-die. This is my date of destiny and thatís how my performance is going to be. David Haye is going to have to be a Superman to beat me on that night, because itís my championship. Itís my shot. Itís my one night. Unfortunately, some of these American guys whoíve had the shot, they havenít gone in there with that attitude. Yeah, youíve seen me on bad nights. Youíve seen me underperform, but youíve never seen me give up and youíve always seen me come back strong and gone back to the well and found a way to win in other fights.

So in this fight Iím going to be giving it my all, and for the sake of heavyweight boxing I hope Shannon Briggs goes in there and gives it his best shot. If he does that, heíll be in there with a puncherís chance against Vitali Klitschko, who for me is the better of the two brothers because heís got more of a heart. Heís got more ticker and he punches with more punches and determination than his brother. So heís a tough champion and heís a champion that I respect. I respect both of the brothers. If Shannon Briggs turns up and gives it his best shot and does not just take it for a payday, then the boxing fans around the world could be in for an exciting fight.Ē

His views on competing in the Sydney Games and winning the Gold Medal:

ďIt felt great. I won the Commonwealth Games in 1998 which is like your Pan American Games, and I was 27 years old and £15,000 in debt and Frank Warren came to me and offered me £100,000 to turn pro and many other people offered me money as well, but Frank was probably the biggest deal. I said to him, ĎListen, when I win the Gold in two years time, how much would that £100,000 be?íAnd he said, ĎYouíre crazy, youíre not winning the Gold Medal, it hasnít been done in 32 yearsí. I said, ĎYeah, but if I win it, how much will you give me?í He said, ĎYouíre not winning it. Listen, I can guarantee you if you donít win it, it will only be £10,000 so you should just take this offerí. Iím like, ĎThank you, but no thanksí.

So thatís why Frank Warren has always been on my back through my professional career, because I turned him down then and when I turned professional I courted him like I was going to sign with him, and basically went behind his back and did the deal with the BBC. Obviously that messed him up.

My mind was just so focused on going to the Olympics and winning the Gold Medal that nothing was going to get me off that pathway. So I went to the Olympics and my first fight I fought against the Russian the worldís number one, Alexei Lezin. I had lost to the guy the year before in the qualifiers, so I spent a whole year working with this guyís style, and once again, learning lessons. People make mistakes. Itís all about mistakes. Life is about lessons. You learn those lessons and you put it into your box and you move on. So in the Olympics, I got the draw against him in the first fight and I was so happy and ecstatic. Everybody was saying, ĎOh my God, Audleyís going homeí.

So I dyed my hair all different colors, yellow, red, the colors of the rainbow, because I understood what marketing was all about. I was going to these villages of all the teams, and I enjoyed it. I went to America, I went to Uganda, I went to China. In every nation I went to they all saw this weird guy and they thought I was just there messing around and I wasnít serious, but it was all part of my plan to get marketing and get myself out there. After I beat the Russian in my first fight, everyone said, ĎWow, this guy has the potential to win the Gold Medalí so everybody started to believe. The more I walked around, the more people started talking about the English guy. By the time I fought in the finals, everybody was following Audley Harrison and obviously when I won the Gold and I came back to England, I became bigger than life.

It was just a great experience, even though I fought the Olympics in the semi-finals and the finals with just one hand. People donít realize some of the adversity Iíve gone through in my career. My hand broke down in the semi-finals, and for the finals they said, ĎAudley, you cannot fight with your hand like that in the finalsí. I said, ĎWatch me.í I said, ĎJust get me out there and Iíll fight with one hand. I donít care. Iím here for the Gold Medal, Iím not here for the Silverí. So I went out there with one hand and I took him out there with one hand, and I had to have the operation after the Olympics. So Iíve been through adversity. Iíve been through challenging times in my career.

Standing on that podium was just a sweet victory, not just for me, but for British boxing and for amateur boxing because amateur boxing was struggling to get funding and it allowed a lot of people to come into the game. Amir Khan would have never had the Amir Khan story had I not won a Medal because there would have been no funding for the Athens team four years later, and there would have been no funding for the James DeGale team eight years later in Bejing. So I know what Iíve done for boxing. People want to discredit my legacy and they want to discredit what Iíve done. I know what Iíve done for boxing and it all started with that Olympics and it all started with a dream of me saying Iím good enough to do it.

Ten year later Iíve gone full circle. Iím 38 years of age, had a late start in the game, but really Iím 28. Iím young in mind and heart, and body and soul. They say you canít have what you want until youíre ready to become it. In 2004, the Ring Magazine had me as the future of the heavyweights along with Dominick Guinn and Joe Mesi. Joe Mesi is now gone and Dominick Guinn has faded away, but Audleyís stayed in the game and November the 13th I get my opportunity.Ē

His views on his first loss against Danny Williams and having to comeback from his first loss:

ďGoing into that fight, let me just tell you something now. My whole issue why I had to go through the little journey I had to go through with falling down, losing my career, losing my confidence, losing my passion for boxing had nothing to do with Danny Williams. I can assure you that. It was all to do with me losing the BBC deal the year before where the BBC told me if I donít give up my promotional companyówhat people donít realize is, BBC Sports gave me an ultimatum after I had the riot at ringside with Mathew Elis, that I had to give up my company A-Force Promotions or I was no longer on their network. Youíve heard me talk about it before. Institutional racism, thatís what it was and I refused to give it up. I had to leave the country as a result of it, and the BBC dropped boxing off their network.

They did not drop boxing off their network because they were unsatisfied with what they were getting from me. They were happy with that. Iíve got letters to prove it, but what they were not happy with, they didnít want me any longer to be a businessman and a promoter. Thatís why I lost the deal with them, and basically, the only person I could sign with was Frank Warren. I insisted when I first turned professional I would never work with this guy. I refused to ever work with Frank Warren and to give that guy any money, and so when I had to sign the deal with Frank, I had two fights over here and when I took that fight with Danny Williams on short notice, it was almost like an alcoholic stuck in a liquor store and you just canít resist it. The door was open, you just canít resist it.

I knew it was bad for my soul. I knew it was bad for my karma to go back to England and sign that deal, but inside I wanted to get back at Frank. It was his twenty-fifth anniversary show, and I thought Danny Williams, yeah I can turn up and just take him on but I didnít realize the magnitude of my feelings and how much my passion had died for boxing. So when I went over there for the press conference, I felt really bad about it. I just felt this isnít me. Iím now signed with a guy I donít want to be with. This isnít me, but my pride and my ego wouldnít let me pull out. So when I went in there on that night, it wasnít about Danny Williams. It was almost like it was about Frank Warren. Here I am on his show, the twenty-fifth anniversary, there having this big show making all of this money and so really itís crazy to say this, but I just surrendered.

I walked out there with no passion, no fire, and no drive. Really I should have just pulled out. The day before the fight, I sat there and I said should I pull out, and I just couldnít do it. Many people have pulled out on Frank Warren on many different shows. Matt Skelton had pulled out and Danny Williams had pulled out before and I think part of me, the promoter in me, said if I pull out the day before itís basically going to fuck up a lot of things. So I went through with it and you saw what happened in there. I totally was a dead man in there. It had nothing to do with Danny Williams, as Iíve said before. He knocked me down and it was like I surrendered. I didnít even try, really.

Until he knocked me down is where my pride, my street pride, kicked in a bit and I said, Ďshití, and I almost knocked him out in the next round. Iím glad I didnít knock him out because I would have gotten away with it. I lost that fight, and I was able to just go away and soul search and really find out whatís going on in my life and to get some balance in my life. They offered me Dominick Guinn, and I said, ĎHell no, I donít want Dominick Guinn. My confidence is at the floor. Why the hell would I want to fight Dominick Guinn?í I think my American partners were kind of not happy with me because I had taken the fight and done the deal with Frank, so that was my only option. Take this fight with Dominick Guinn or not, you canít have a warm up. I tried to get there. You know I swear I tried to get there in training camp and I never got there.

My confidence was at .0 and it was that training camp where I bumped into David Haye in Miami and I had that spar with him where he got the better of me and he was able to take a punch. He punched me from pillar to post. I had no confidence and I was just trying to find myself. Then I took that same negativity into the Dominick Guinn fight and gave that fight away on points. So it was really an unnecessary loss where I shouldnít have taken that fight, but I took it on the chin. I took the loss and everyone said, ĎOh, heís finishedí.

I knew I wasnít finished. I knew I just needed to get back my mojo and find some time where I could rebuild my love for the game. What happened, like I said, was all to do with the BBC deal and then having to sign with Frank Warren. It totally chilled my soul and killed my passion, and you saw it in my performances. I lost three fights since Frank Warren and that should tell you something. I lost to guys to guys that I was able to avenge, I beat Michael Sprott and Daniel Williams in the rematches, and Martin Rogan I never fought him again but this time it would be different. But I had no passion and desire to work for the guy, although like I said, like an addict, Iím phoning the guy saying, ĎHey give me work!í, because nobody else was giving me work. I was just looking for any door to get back because I was just so far away from my goal of wanting to become a world champion. I was just demoralized. I was totally a broken man and totally dejected with the politics of boxing.Ē

On who his favorite fighters were when he first got into the sport:

ďWell the guy that got me into boxing was definitely Marvelous Marvin Hagler. When they were doing the Fabulous Four, Marvin Hagler was my guy. Out of Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray, and Duran, it was Marvin Hagler because he was no nonsense, he was a southpaw/orthodox, he had that war mentality, no nonsense, good fundamentals, and he just went in there and got it. So itís Marvin Hagler who was the first guy I kind of first started looking up to in boxing. Then obviously Sugar Ray, and that era of those four fighters gave me a fascination for boxing. Marvin Hagler was definitely the first guy that got me into it.

When I started studying boxing I became a student of the game. Obviously I got to learn about Muhammad Ali and to know about his career. I followed Muhammad Ali and he became an idol and became a legend to me. Then there were many of British fighters who I liked. I liked Eubanks and the way Eubanks was always coming through. He had something where everybody hated him coming through. Itís similar to my career. They hated him coming through and he got the love at the end. He was tough as nails. Nigel Benn was exciting coming through, Lennox Lewis who he conducted his career, Riddick Bowe. I loved Riddick Bowe how he used to fight on the inside. His first fight with Holyfield was one of the best heavyweight fights Iíve ever seen. Holyfield was another guy. Obviously Iím a heavyweight specialist.

I liked Chavez, I liked Pernell Whitaker. Georgie Benton was actually at the top of my list of trainers I wanted to work with when I turned professional because I loved the way those guys he trained fought. He trained Pernell Whitaker, Holyfield, all of those guys, even Michael Moorer was in that stable back then. I think Michael Moorer was with him back then. They all just had a certain style.

One of my biggest idols in boxing once I got to read about himówhere a lot of these guys, like Muhammad Aliówas Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson was a maverick. Jack Johnson was well ahead of the game. What he had to stand up with, a lot of people donít realize, a lot of people say to me, ĎAudley, how did you handle the stress that you get?í Go and read Jack Johnsonís life story. Go read Nelson Mandelaís life story, and even Lennox Lewis. To tell the truth, Lennox had some problems in his career. I say, ĎListen, the amount of stories Iíve read about all of these inspirational guys that I look up to and Iíve been inspired by, they had to deal with so much BS in the boxing game and they survived it.í And thatís whatís given me motivation to survive my own pitfalls and setbacks.

I love watching boxing. I love watching boxing when people put it all on the line. You got some great fights. I know people love to say how great it was 20 years ago, but we still have great fighters coming through. We have great eras. We have great champions now. I think Floyd Mayweather could have been great in any era. I think heís a special fighter. Sugar Shane is a special fighter. Joe Calzaghe, even though heís certainly not pleasing on the eye, heís still a guy that came in there, laid it on the line, and didnít lose a fight. You got take your hat off to that guy.

I get excited by many different fights. It could be a ten round fight. There is always surprises and upsets. Iím a boxing fan, so every weekend Iíll watch boxing. I can watch ESPN, Iíll be watching Showtime, Iíll be watching HBO. Iím in America so I watch mostly American fights. The only thing Iím disappointed in is when people get the opportunity, and Iíve been guilty of that myself. I can tell all the excuses I want to tell about why I lost to Danny because Iíve been guilty of it myself. But when your time comes you have to be prepared to put it on the line and I think some of the Americans whoíve been getting shots at the title, especially in the heavyweights, have been disappointing and I think that even theyíd look at themselves in the mirror and be disappointed in their performances, especially with UFC breathing down our necks.

I can guarantee that on November 13 youíre going to see the best of Audley Harrison, and I think youíre going to see the best of David Haye which will be good for boxing. I think thatís what boxing needs and Iím going to be doing my part on November 13.Ē

His views on Manny Pacquiao who is widely viewed as the most popular fighter in boxing today:

ďWell I think Pacquiao is up there. With Pacquiaoís style, I donít think Pacquiao is as finessed as a Mayweather or some of these great fighters but what he is, is a work horse. Heís obviously working with Freddie Roach, and heís improved in leaps and bounds. All you can ask is for the guy to beat whoís put in front of him, and heís doing that and heís doing that to good effect.

Obviously thereís still the cry for him and Mayweather to have the fight. That fight I think, after seeing what Mayweather did to Mosley, Iíve actually now started leaning towards Mayweather in that fight just because of the size. I was just surprised that Mosley, obviously the second round was interesting when Mosley caught him with that right hand, but I think Mayweather showed me a lot in that fight. So my money would be on Mayweather just because of the size and just because heís shown that he doesnít have any weaknesses at this stage. He hasnít shown any weaknesses that Iíve seen that somebody can exploit. Whereas Pacquiao coming through in the early parts of his career, he was beaten and he was exploited. Juan Manuel Marquez was able to exploit him.

Coming through now with his speed, he has great speed, great fitness, and great agility. With these guys, I mean like Margarito, he will be way too slow to be able to exploit Pacquiao in my opinion. Heís too slow and heís going to be too ring rusty. He hasnít fought for how long? Did he have a warm-up there? Iím not even sure, but he hasnít fought in that long and Pacquiao has been active so heís going to be sharp. Thatís the difference between me and David Haye as well. David Haye hasnít fought anybody whoís been active. He fought Valuev whoís as slow as molasses, he fought Ruiz who was retired for two years and just came out as a warm-up, and Monte Barrett takes a fight whenever he can get it. Iíve been ring active. Iíve been sharp. I won Prizefighter, Iím European Champion, and now Iím doing this fight. Even though Iím coming off an injury, Iím still sharp and itís a big difference, a big difference.Ē

On whether there was any truth to rumors he was supposed to fight Frank Bruno:

ďWell obviously subsequently, Frank Bruno was sanctioned by the Mental Health Act. So I think him calling me out was just a cry for help. He had called me out, and obviously it was a fight that was going to do good business at the box office, so it was something I was considering. At the same time, Herbie Hide and the BBC were pushing. This is where my problems started with the BBC, because they brought Herbie Hide to that fight and Bruno was brought to the fight as well when I fought Mathew Ellis and I had that horrible riot at ringside after that fight. I told them not to bring Herbie Hide there because of that reason that it could happen. So nothing came of the fight with Bruno. He was at ringside. I brought him into the ring, and pretty much a week after that he got sanctioned so we didnít take it any further.Ē

His views on whether he will have a rematch with David Haye in the event he wins the title from him:

ďI got to tell you obviously we got to do it again. When I knock him out, Iím going to do it again. So really my focus is getting that belt from him. After that, weíll sit down and if his ego will allow him to get back in the ring and train, because like I said he will be coming down to the Earth. Earth to David, heíll be coming down with a big bump on November 13. Weíll see what he wants to do after that.Ē

On whether he feels he is at his best and in his prime at 38 years of age:

ď100%. What you got to realize is in boxing, age isnít anything but a number. Thereís Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins. All of these guys have shown that age is nothing but a number. What it is, is about miles on the cup. David Hayeís got far more miles on his cup than me. I think heís been knocked down how many times in his career amateur and professional. He started boxing at what? Seven or eight years of age? I didnít start boxing until I was 19. I won the Olympics at 29. Iím 38 years of age and Iím ready for my date with destiny. You know you look at somebody like Lennox Lewis, he started boxing at 14, he won the Olympics at 24, and by 34 he was about there. So you have a ten year amateur pedigree and a ten year professional. Look at Ricky Hatton and look at Oscar De La Hoya. They all have the same blueprint. Regardless of age, they all have about ten years at amateur and then maybe about ten years professional.

So Iím definitely at the peak of my game. I learned all the things I need to learn in that ring, and I believe Iíve had far better teachers than David Haye and thatís going to be the differenceóthe school of boxing. Forget about heart. Forget about all of that nonsense that they say I donít have. Iíve got it in abundance as youíve seen. If youíve actually just studied my fights, study what Iíve done in my fights, and youíll see that Iím the most talented fighter in the heavyweight division. I havenít put it together just yet. Youíve seen glimpses of it. You saw glimpses of it in Danny Williams II. Iíve shown glimpses, but November 13 I get to put it all together and you get to see the complete package. Itís going to be man against boy, master against student. David was a great prospect coming through and heís a champion now, but he hasnít gone past the master yet and Iím about to take back whatís mine. Yes I can. No doubt, 100%, Audley Harrison is the new heavyweight champion of the world. No doubt.Ē

His official prediction for his upcoming fight against David Haye:

ďWell I see David Haye, whatever happens is Iím going to be victorious. There are many different permutations on how this fight can go, but the bottom line is Iím going to be victorious. Iím expecting a tough battle. Iím expecting to put it all on the line. Iím expecting I could be cut, I could be knocked down. It doesnít matter. Iím getting get up, and David Haye has got to be prepared for the same because I know Iím knocking him down with my left hand at some point, and I donít think heís getting up.Ē

On what he would like to say to all of his fans and the listeners of On the Ropes Boxing Radio:

ďYeah, all I have to say is it has been a pleasure. I enjoyed talking to you guys. Critics, keep talking, keep calling me ĎFraudleyí, keep calling ĎAudrey ordinaryí, because November 13, the A-Force is going to do something truly extraordinary. So join the revolution now. Get positive. Get positive right now, because Audley Harrison is going to do something special, truly special, and Iím going to become heavyweight champion of the world like I said I was going to be. I set my goals. I achieve my goals, and in the end I got there. Tune in. Itís going to be a special night.Ē

***




For those interested in listening to the Audley Harrison interview in its entirety, it begins approximately fifty-five minutes into the program.

***

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Article posted on 06.10.2010



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