By Derek Bilton
The past meets the present in Liverpool this weekend as one-time British world heavyweight hope Audley Harrison attempts to go to the well one last time when he meets unbeaten Scouse wonder David Price.
Harrison of course needs no introduction. He famously scooped gold at the Olympics in Sydney back in 2000 to achieve instant celebrity. However despite reaching the absolute pinnacle in a vest and head guard his career as a pro has a huge disappointment. He has talked the talk but rarely walked the walk and he's bang up against it this weekend.
This is not a sportsman drinking in the last chance saloon even. This is a man drinking cans in the pub car park hoping against hope for a lock-in. Big Audley turns 41 this month and in Price he is taking on an unbeaten puncher who is fighting in his own backyard, and who has won his last three fights courtesy of crushing stoppages in rather spectacular fashion.
Harrison has boxed just once in almost two years and his record is a rather patchy 28-5 (22). He can still bang with the left but he his limitations were surely exposed once and for all by
David Haye, who smashed him to bits in three one-sided rounds (Harrison barely threw a punch of note) back in 2010.
The amiable Price seems to be in a no-win situation. If he bombs Audley out of there he's beaten a has-been (or neverwas-been, depending on your perspective). Yet if he struggles or heaven forbid is bombed out himself then his own stock would plummet alarmingly.
Both men are Olympians (Price won bronze in Beijing in 2008) and both are well built by modern heavyweight standards, but the Liverpool man looks to be holding all the aces here. 'Big Pricey' is a huge draw in his home city and indeed he is seen as the man who will carry British boxing hopes over the next five years or so.
As usual Harrison has been talking a good fight, stating that he is finally back in love with the game and looking to complete his 'journey'.
However we have heard this talk before time and time again only to see Harrison stink the joint out. There are those who fancy Harrison to make this competitive for a few rounds but I can't see beyond a comprehensive Price win. He has the power in both hands to get the respect of any heavyweight in the world and Audley has shown before that once he is hurt he freezes like a startled rabbit whose gaze is stuck in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
If Harrison can get his jab working he might be able to keep Price at bay early on, and if he can detonate that left hand he could ask a few questions of Price's chin, which has yet to be tested in the pro ranks.
However Price has a pretty solid defence and after apparently do OK in heated spars with the Klitschko brothers, among others, I am not convinced that his whiskers will be found wanting.
A far more likely scenario however is that Price catches Harrison (whose reflexes are not what they were) early and punches him to a bloody standstill.
British champion Price could get this wrapped up inside three minutes but even if he doesn't I certainly expect him to take care of business before halfway, finally ridding boxing of one of the most deluded athletes British sport has seen over the past 20 years.