Some are born great, some achieve greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them. This year, Andy Murray won an Olympic gold in tennis
. As he kissed his medal, he must have thought to himself "It doesn't get any better than this". Then he won the New York Open. Twelve years ago, the same thought must have run through Audley Harrison's mind when won the gold for the super heavyweight class at the Sydney Olympics. Unlike Murray, he wasn't disappointed, but he has disappointed the boxing world ever since.
Let's be objective about this, over the years there have been a lot of world class fighters and indeed world champions who have brought disgrace on their profession, men like Floyd Mayweather
, who uses his fists on women; convicted rapist and
convicted bully boy Mike Tyson; and probably the worst of all, Tony Ayala Junior, who is now back in prison where he belongs, so let's say no more about him.
Unlike these thugs, Audley Harrison has never blotted his copybook, in fact it's generally agreed that outside the ring he's a nice guy. Trouble is, he's a nice guy in the ring too. He turned pro with a million pound contract from the BBC, and although he was a late starter in the professional game, much was expected of him. He had some trouble with a ligament, which can't have done him any good, but his slow progress towards any sort of world title shot was halted when he lost to Danny Williams, a capable domestic fighter but one far below world class.
Although he avenged that defeat, by the time he fought David Haye in 2010, he really was at the last chance saloon. Haye always talks a good fight, but unlike Harrison he fights one too. There was surely nowhere for Harrison to go after that knock out loss, but somehow he got a shot at David Price for the British and Commonwealth Titles. And was dismantled in 82 seconds including the count.
Before the fight, Harrison's self-styled A-Force website
announced a new range of t-shirts. He would be better off flogging doormats as he spends so much time on the floor, or lollipops as he is always getting licked.
After his man's victory, promoter Frank Maloney hailed David Price
as the second coming of Lennox Lewis. Let's not get carried away; Price is obviously a capable fighter, but to prove himself he has to beat somebody, and that he has yet to do, because as far as the heavyweight pro game goes, Audley Harrison is a wannabe never was.
There has been no word from Harrison yet; there is no need for him to sever his connection with boxing, but if he has any future at all in the sport it is as a trainer, manager or even a corner man, not as a stepping stone for younger, more capable men.