When David Price faces Audley Harrison on October 13 in Liverpool, the 29-year-old hometown fighter expects a test from the former gold medalist, and insists he's not preparing for what most fans perceive to be a shot fighter.
"I’m expecting him to come out firing because he has to make a fight of it to enhance his reputation. He’s dangerous and now that he hasn’t got pressure on him it might make him produce something and he might perform. I’d ask people who question whether I should be fighting Audley – who else should I be defending my titles against at this moment?"
While "he might perform" isn't exactly the most exciting thing to say about an opponent, Price (13-0, 11 KO) has a point about domestic competition. He mentions Matt Skelton, who at 45 is actually Harrison's senior by a good bit. Dereck Chisora wasn't an option at this time. Tyson Fury isn't a workable option, even if they both wanted the fight, and Price questions Fury's desire to make it, too.
Past that, you're into the likes of Sam Sexton, John McDermott (Price already knocked him out), Martin Rogan, etc. Audley is about as good as it gets.
So it begs the question: When will Price go to the next level? It's not even about world titles. What about European title level? That remains to be seen, but if Price thrashes Harrison the way he's done his previous opponents, that could and probably should be the next play.
As for Harrison (28-5, 21 KO), the truth is that the former gold medalist is being counted out for good reasons. Since turning pro, Harrison has had ups and downs, but the downs have been far more memorable.
There is no question that he has underachieved in the pro ranks, never becoming a really serious world title contender, and taking a full nine years to even win a European belt, which he promptly gave up to chase his first -- and likely only -- world title bid against David Haye in 2010.
Harrison's anemic, no-effort performance against Haye saw him stopped in three, and was the key fight that led to Sky Sports dropping pay-per-view boxing, and ultimately the departure of promoter Frank Warren from the network, and the formation of BoxNation. In its own way, Haye-Harrison is one of the more important fights of the last few years.
Today, Audley still insists that he was suffering from injuries ahead of that fight, but simply couldn't turn it down. And he'll fight Price to try and salvage part of his reputation:
"My whole career cannot be defined by the Haye fight. If I go in there one hundred per cent and the guy beats me hands down, I will happily walk away from boxing. If David Price beats me there is no where else for me to go."
Price vs Harrison will air live on BoxNation in the UK, as well as Wealth TV in the United States. Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of the show on Saturday, October 13.