Today at a packed M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, David Haye stopped Audley Harrison in the third round of a terrible fight, retaining the WBA heavyweight title as expected.
Haye (25-1, 23 KO) met nothing of note from Harrison, who barely threw a punch in the entire fight. The first round passed with maybe one punch landed, a soft jab from Harrison. Haye landed nothing. The second round wasn't much better, though Haye was starting to get more aggressive.
From his ring walk, Harrison looked out of it. Those who said they saw him interviewed earlier in the day reported he appeared a bit "scared" of the moment. At 39, Harrison, a former Olympic gold medalist, was trying his hand in his first major title fight as a pro. To say he tanked would be putting it lightly. Harrison moved away almost frantically every time Haye even feinted making a charge.
In the third round, Haye closed in, rocked Harrison with repeated right hands, and floored the bigger man with relative ease. Harrison did get up, but Haye stormed in on him and finished him off after another right hand landed, prompting referee Luis Pabon to jump in and stop the one-sided brawl.
This may have been the true end of the road for Harrison (27-5, 20 KO). Given his age and the fact that his professional career has been a massive disappointment, he's gone as far as he's going to go. He had some late career redemption, winning a Prizefighter tournament and the European belt, but when on the biggest stage of his career, he just didn't show up mentally, physically, or both.
After the bout, Haye promised he'll fight one of the Klitschkos in 2011. We'll see about that, because he's said the same thing since 2008.
We'll be back this evening for live coverage of the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito card, so make sure to stick around!
On the Undercard
- George Groves TKO-6 Kenny Anderson. Groves got the first real scare of his career, going down twice against Anderson, but he showed some real grit, stormed back, and stopped Anderson in the sixth round. Once Groves "woke up," or was woken up, he looked every bit the offensive force he's been thus far, improving to 11-0 (9 KO). Maybe he just wasn't as ready as he would have liked to have been, as he took this fight on fairly short notice after a fight with James Obede Toney got canceled a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe Anderson (12-1, 8 KO) is simply better and stronger than expected. Certainly no reason to jump off Groves' ship, but I think this does make a bit clearer that James DeGale, like him or not, is the better prospect.
- Stuart Hall TKO-7 Gary Davies. Hall (10-0-1, 6 KO) retains the British bantamweight title over the brave Davies (10-4-1, 8 KO). No clue yet if Hall has an upside that will take him out of the weak British bantamweight field and onto the world stage at some point. That will have to wait until he goes up to European level competition.
- Enad Licina UD-12 Felix Cora Jr.. This was an IBF eliminator, so Licina (19-2, 10 KO) is now in line for a shot at the belt currently held by Steve Cunningham. Cunningham sure isn't keeping much more active a schedule now that he's promoted in Europe, by the way. Cora (22-4-2, 12 KO) probably didn't deserve to be in a title eliminator, but really the same could be said of Licina, so whatever.