The biggest heavyweight clash in Britain since Lewis and Bruno went at it in Cardiff 17 years ago promises to be our boxing event of the year but let's get it straight from the off - in terms of form, ability and levels, this is close to a mismatch.
If it was a verbal spar maybe Haye V Harrison would be 50-50 with both fighters enlivening the build up with zealous jibes and generally engaging banter. Haye has promised Sky 3D viewers will be able to watch a one dimensional fighter get a three dimensional beating while Harrison has stared into the camera repeating "yes I can."
Make no mistake, this fight will definitely pull in the casual viewer and Audley continues to sound convincing. But let none of that persuasive patter about destiny sway you from the bare facts: Harrison is a European level operator at best and he's taking on a genuine elite fighter and a proper World Champion in David Haye.
Those constructing a case for backing 'A-Force' at 6.4 will point to his two-inch height and eight-inch reach advantage. They'll say Haye (1.18) has no chin or endurance, that Harrison has Olympic pedigree and comes into this on a four-fight winning streak.
But before you start to believe the ballyhoo, remember three of those wins came in prizefighter against an assortment of characters and nothing can disguise the fact that Harrison was minutes away from career oblivion until a bingo punch brought him a last round knockout over Michael Sprott last time. That was in every sense his lottery ticket.
Securing a huge payoff though and winning a world title are two entirely different propositions and for my money, Harrison has done nothing in his career to suggest he is ready for this. Revenge KO wins over Danny Williams and more recently Sprott may be highlights but they just don't compare to what Haye brings to the table, not by a long chalk.
Yes, Harrison has the 'experience' of having shared a ring with Haye, but everyone has heard a version of how he was mauled by the champion when sparring as Lennox Lewis watched on in 2006. Haye has gone on to win world titles at both cruiser and heavyweight since then and he's a bigger, nastier animal now.
One time close friends, Haye and Harrison are now as distant in that regard as they are in terms of achievement, and I believe talent too. Haye has blistering speed for a heavyweight and it is clear that he has carried that potent dig up with him. All bar one of his heavyweight opponents have fallen by way of the 'Hayemaker' and the Londoner put ever durable John Ruiz on the canvas four times before stopping him in nine rounds in April. That included a first round knock down by the same jab-straight right hand combination that sparked Alexander Gurov in a round for the European Title in 2005 and exactly the right tools for a southpaw like Harrison.
The question for me is not will David Haye win but how quickly can or dare he get it done? In an October interview with Sky Sports, Haye said; "I'd hate for this to be a one round blowout. Hopefully he can somehow hang in there for a few rounds to give the people some entertainment because if he comes out with his usual 'ordinary' Harrison, he's getting knocked out very quickly." I couldn't agree more. I think as soon as Haye lets his hands go, this fight will end.
Still, it is worth remembering that Haye said he was going to smash Nikolay Valuev into pieces yet painstakingly chose a different path. The means to an end, yes, but that fight underlined something we learned the night Haye took the cruiserweight belts away from Jean Marc Mormeck in Paris; that he is meticulously prepared by Adam Booth and they always have a plan.
Losing to 'A-Farce' is an embarrassment too ridiculous to contemplate for Haye; he's worked all his life to be where he is so he can't afford to be reckless. Much therefore depends on Harrison's attitude. Will he press like he believes in destiny or can we expect his usual reticence? If it's the latter he might just survive a few rounds but either way, Haye will be too fast, too strong and simply too good. I just can't see this fight going beyond half way; the question is which round are you picking?
By Alex Steedman
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