‘I’m the most devastating fighter on the planet’

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 9, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (24-1, 22 KOs) returns to his native England for his second title defense against 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison (27-4, 20 KOs).

The bout will occur on Saturday, November 13, in what should be a sellout crowd at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England. “Haye vs. Harrison: Best Enemies” is the first all-British world heavyweight championship fight since Lennox Lewis bested Frank Bruno 17 years ago in what was an epic fight.

The boxing world will pay close attention, but Haye doesn’t believe Harrison deserves such a spotlight. “I don’t believe Audley deserves it a shot at the heavyweight title,” Haye said during press conference to announce the fight.

“But fortunately or unfortunately for him depending on how you look at it, there’s enough people that want to see him finally get destroyed. He’s going to get completely annihilated.”

Haye added: “I get more e-mails to fight Audley Harrison than anyone else in the world. Everyone feels passionately that they want me to finally close the curtain on the joke that’s the Audley Harrison show.”

Although Harrison is an Olympic gold medal winner, many people consider him a tremendous disappointment. Harrison’s losses to Danny Williams, Dominick Guinn, Martin Rogan, and a shock KO defeat to Martin Rogan left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

But Harrison has been on a roll in the last year. On October 2, 2009, Harrison fought three times in one night to win Britain’s critically acclaimed “Prizefighter.” The heavyweight tournament win solidified a rematch with European champion Michael Sprott. Harrison was losing the fight badly.

“Audley knows me,” Haye continued. “He’s known me for years.

He knows how devastating I am in the ring. He’s tasted, first hand, in sparring sessions. He knows what character I am. I’m no joke – at all!”

Harrison acknowledged Haye’s power, but appeared unfazed by the champion’s rants. “I am ecstatic that I’m getting a shot at a heavyweight champion,” Harrison said. “I’m doubly ecstatic that it’s against David Haye — a guy that I groomed.”

“When I was 29 and an Olympic champion, David was 19. Yes, I know David Haye very well. Yes I have tasted his punches and tasted his power.

He never ever hurt me. He never, ever knocked me out in those training sessions although he tried.”

Harrison guarantees that he will unseat Haye and that it’s his destiny to win a heavyweight title. But Haye too has the power to crush Harrison’s dreams.

“What you need to realize is that this is my destiny,” Harrison told Haye. “Trust me when I tell you that at some point in the fight, my left hand, at some point in that fight, is going to land on your chin.”

Haye was quick to point out “once the bell rings, I am the most devastating fighter on the planet. [Harrison] knows how devastating I am in the ring.”

The boxing world can point to Haye’s destruction of Jean Marc-Mormeck, Enzo Maccarinelli, Monte Barrett, and John Ruiz as proof as to how devastating and explosive a puncher he is in the ring.

Haye is a much quicker, sharper, and deadlier puncher. He has better footwork than Harrison, who can look slow and lethargic at times.

Harrison can be outworked and easily hit because he keeps his hands at chest level.

The one thing that Harrison has going for him is the power he has in his left hand.

Gamboa vs. Salido: A True Battle of Champions on HBO Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa is headed toward the biggest fight of his career on Saturday. Making the fourth defense of the WBA featherweight championship, Gamboa (18-0, 15 KOs) challenges IBF titlist Orlando Salido (34-10-2, 22 KOs) to a 126-pound unification bout.

“Gamboa vs. Salido: Battle of Champions” is the featured main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark telecast on Saturday. In the co-feature: Anthony Peterson (30-0, 20 KOs) takes on Brandon Rios (24-0, 18 KOs) in a WBO lightweight eliminator beginning at 10 p.m. ET from the Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The opportunity to unify two pieces of the world featherweight championship is a huge opportunity fort Gamboa to prove that he is the best in his division.

“This is a very important fight because this is an opportunity to prove that I can defeat the champions in this division” Gamboa said. “I have worked very hard to become a better professional fighter and I think that it has shown over the last few fights.”

“My defense is better and I am putting my combinations together much better”

Instead of simply blowing out overmatched opposition, Gamboa proved in his last bout that he has the skills, endurance, and the ability to fight 12 championship rounds when he decisioned previously unbeaten Jonathan Victor Barros in Germany on March 27.

Gamboa, who had a cut on his forehead, was forced to go 12 rounds for the first time in his career. He expects a tremendous challenge from Salido, but does not expect the fight to last the full 12-round distance.

“He’s a very good fighter with a lot of professional experience, but he is not really at my level,” Gamboa added. “My speed and power will be too much for him.”

“I know I need to work very hard to get to the level that I want to be at. I want to one day be considered one of the best fighters not only in the world but of all time.”

The fight with Salido is significant because a signature win (as expected) will further point Gamboa toward a showdown with WBO champion Juan Manuel Lopez.

“It is a fight that is out there and when Top Rank feels that he is ready to face me he will face me,” Gamboa stated. “In the mean time all I have to do is beat who ever they put in front of me”

Salido isn’t going to allow Gamboa to just pummel him and take away his world title belt. The 29 year-old Mexican Salido has fought professionally since 1996. Although it took him 14 years to finally win his first world title by besting Cristobal Cruz in a rematch last May, Salido is no slouch.

Salido beat Robert Guerrero for the IBF featherweight title in 2006, but tested positive for a steroid and the win was changed to a no-contest. Salido also beat former WBC featherweight champion Cesar Soto and handed former National Golden Gloves titlist Lamont Pearson his first professional loss. Salido also fought Juan Manuel Marquez for 12 rounds.

Gamboa has his hands full.