Former Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison's pro career has been a tremendous disappointment, but he's once again on the verge of going to a higher level, and he's not done looking for the biggest fights.
On April 9, Harrison (26-4, 19 KO) will face Albert Sosnowski (45-2-1, 27 KO) for Sosnowski's European heavyweight title, and if he wins, he wants to face one of the Klitschkos. He even says that fellow Brit David Haye isn't on his radar:
"No disrespect to David Haye, but no-one is talking about David Haye," said Harrison, an Olympic champion in 2000.
"They're all talking about the Klitschkos, so if I beat Albert, I want the Klitschkos."
Harrison is now 38, so time is running thin. He turned pro just under nine years ago, and hasn't come close to equaling his promise, or his talent. Harrison's ability has always been evident, but he's just never shown the sand required to become a great heavyweight. He lost his first fight in 2005 to Danny Williams, which was an upset, and lost again in his next bout against Dominick Guinn, another disappointment. In 2007, Michael Sprott knocked him out in the third round, and then in '08, he lost a close decision to Martin Rogan.
It seemed to be over then, but he came back and won a Prizefighter tournament last year.
But those wins -- over Coleman Barrett, Danny Hughes and Scott Belshaw -- prove almost nothing. Those are guys on the level of the foes Harrison was beating years ago. And Sosnowski, while no elite heavy, is a big step up from them.
The 30-year-old Pole (who now lives in Brentwood) has lost twice in his career, once to Zuri Lawrence, and another fight way back in 2001 against future journeyman Arthur Cook.
And though it might appear that Harrison is looking past Sosnowski, he says that's not the case:
"All I'm interested in at the moment is Albert Sosnowski and he will not give up that belt easily. The worst thing I could do is look past Albert. If I can't get past him then there's nothing in the future."
The rest of the BBC article showcases a very humbled, very realistic Audley Harrison, certainly a change from the guy he used to be. The question now is whether he's grown as a fighter, or whether at his age, it's simply too late for him to ever make the jump.
Chances are, it's too late. A loss to Sosnowski and it's all over. A win -- and the European title -- and he just might get that one crack at glory.