By Francisco Salazar
Dusty Hernandez Harrison wants a fight against Amir Khan.
Some in boxing may wonder if the Harrison is biting off more than he can chew.
Then, there are those, with the exception of the Washington, D.C. area, who are wondering just who is Dusty Hernandez Harrison.
Although he is only 19 years of age, Harrison believes his maturity, work ethic, and whom he has sparred will give him the edge towards big fights down the road.
And that includes a fight against Khan or another well-known world title holder or contender.
Harrison will fight tonight against Guillermo Valdes in a scheduled six round bout at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, DE.
Harrison is coming off a six round unanimous decision Ben Ankrah at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT on June 29th.
His fight against Valdez will represent the third time Harrison will fight a boxer with a winning record. Despite facing limited opposition, the Washington, D.C. resident has his sights set on big things, even though he is not overlooking Valdes.
"I watched his fight against (Thomas) Dulorme," Harrison told Boxingscene.com earlier this week over the phone. "I know that he is known to box, but I'm going to press the action and see how it goes. If I could learn and win at the same time, then everything is good.
For those outside of the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) area, it is okay if you have not heard of Harrison. But there is more than meets the eye.
With almost 200 amateur fights, including numerous national and regional Golden Glove titles, Harrison (16-0, 9 KOs) could have had the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Trials. However, Harrison began his career at the age of 17.
"No one knows about who is in the Olympics or the fighters that come out of there. I think that fighting in the Olympics doesn't do good for fighters now as it did back then."
All was not rosy for Harrison as an amateur. According to Harrison, he was already sparring with the likes of DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley, Lamont Peterson, Henry Buchanan, and Ty Barnett.
Not only did the sparring give Harrison more of a crash course of the pro game, but it gave him the confidence that boxing would be something he could excel at.
So far, it has.
"I sparred everyone who was a pro in the D.C. area. At the very least, I know I held my own against them during sparring."
Harrison has built quite a following in the area. His last fight in his hometown attracted a crowd of almost 4,000 at the UDC Physical Activities Center.
Assuming he beats Valdes, Harrison is looking to step up the level of competition, even though he is still legally unable to buy alcohol.
Harrison believes the welterweight limit is where he could find success in the short term.
"I would really love to stay at the welterweight limit. I really love this weight class and I don't want to miss out on any of the good fights that could be made. I can make the weight easy and I'd like to stay here for a while."
One welterweight Harrison has his eyes set on is Amir Khan. While it looks like Khan is likely fighting on December 7th against Devon Alexander, that is not dissuading Harrison from believing the fight could happen.
While he understands there are skeptics out there, and rightfully so, Harrison is quick to point out that a fight against Khan is personal and not to make a quick buck.
"When he came to work out at my gym, my camp and his camp had some problems. It's personal to me."
"A fight against him is not about the money. I would fight Khan for the same amount I was paid in my last fight, which was a six-rounder. I'm just very ambitious."
The word ambitious is a word that could describe Harrison. While his longest scheduled bout was eight rounds and the less-than-modest opposition he has faced, people may think Harrison could be talking a good talk.
But one could respect his ambition, whether he wins a lot leading to a world title belt or does not have a successful career.
He also wants to be mentioned amongst the best the area has produced, which most boxing experts consider Mark "Too Sharp" to be on top of that list.
"It would be the world to me if I could be considered amongst the best. I wear the D.C. flag on my trunks and I never forget my hometown. My dream is to one day fight for a world title."
Guillermo Valdes is no Amir Khan. Could Harrison go from point A to point B? That remains to be seen.
Although, there are still skeptics to what the sport of boxing will hold for Harrison, why not consider he is young, could get better, and ambitious?
Harrison may or may not bite off than he could chew as of now or later in his career. But it could be fun and productive to see if that dream could become a reality.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September and has cover boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at FSalazarBoxingTags: Dusty Harrison