Join Will Cooling at 8pm GMT /4PM ET for live coverage of all the televised action of the Sky Box Office’s Best of Enemies pay per view. Headlined by David Haye defending his WBA World Heavyweight Title against former Olympic Gold Medallist Audley Harrison. Live from the Manchester Evening News Arena, the event will be by far the biggest money match in British boxing history with a large pay per view audience expected to tune in to see whether Audley Harrison can shock the world or if David Haye will make good his promise to end Harrison’s career. The full match list is as follows:
WBA World Heavyweight Title
David Haye (c) v Audley Harrison
Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title
George Groves (c) v Kenny Anderson
Tonight’s the night. All the arguments about the validity of the fight can be put to one side – yes Harrison shouldn’t be anywhere near a world title fight, yes Haye should be testing himself against a Klitschko brother and yes this is nothing but a freak show. But no one cannot dispute that this fight has captured the imagination of British fight fans like no other since Ricky Hatton vs. Floyd Mayweather. Perhaps sometimes hardcore fight fans have to take a step back and realise that sometimes the story behind a fight is worth more than the quality of the fighters in between. Or maybe the media is just full of smart snark oil salesmen that can sweet talk fans into accepting substandard fights.
We will be bringing you live play by play of all the televised action, starting off with super-middleweight prospect George Groves defending his Commonwealth Title against Kenny Anderson, a fight arranged on only two weeks notice after Groves defense against the other James Toney was cancelled at the last minute. This is the battle between two underfeated fighters, with both having eight victories by way of knockout.
Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title
(c) George Groves (11st 13Ibs 80z; 10-0, 8KO ) v Kenny Anderson (12st; 12-0, 8KO)
The Englishman Groves is the firm fan favorite against the Scot Anderson in the eyes of the Manchester fans. Feeling each other out to start with, Anderson in the center of the ring trying to push the action. Groves is coming in and putting combinations together, although Anderson’s defense is solid. Groves is moving around the ring well, working the jab where possible and above all not allowing Anderson to pin him down. Not a high action round but Groves ringmanship and successful use of the jab took the round in my book. 10-9 to Groves.
Groves tries to push the action at the beginning and manages to connect with a good overhand right. Anderson comes forward and briefly traps Groves in the corner but Groves is able to escape. Groves is fighting off the back foot, looking to pick Anderson apart with superior movement and speed. Anderson is throwing more but also missing more than Groves, who is landing some stinging jabs. Anderson is struggling to set up angles with Groves once again showing superior ringmanship. 20-18 to Groves.
Groves is showing discipline to play to his strengths by boxing off the back foot. And just as I wrote that Anderson catches him with a straight right and Anderson pours forward with several unanswered punches. Groves defense didn’t look too clever there allowing Anderson to twice catch him on the ropes. Groves gets sucked into a slugfest and Anderson comes through with a hard left hook that visibly effects Groves. Groves holds on and needs to avoid taking any more damange. Anderson comes through with a right hand and gets the knockdown. Groves is in real trouble here. An exciting exchange between the two on the ropes, Groves gets the worst of it and only the bell saves him from suffering a second knockdown. 28-28.
Groves trainer Adam Smith told him in the round break to stop slugging with a slugger, but at the start of the fourth round he gets sucked into another slugfest on the ropes. Groves looks very uncomfortable and unsteady on his legs and his defense is wide open. Anderson bosses most of the round, not only dictating where the fight took place but also having the better shots. Groves does come back strong in the last minute, landing some tasty body shots. He desperately needs to tighten his defense if he’s to get out of this fight with his belt. 38-37 to Anderson.
Groves is clearly struggling, not looking right ever since the third round. Anderson is however showing signs of slowing down after the body shots towards the end of the fourth round. Groves is showing better quality with his jabs and Anderson doesn’t have the energy to push him onto the ropes as in the previous two rounds. Groves round. 47-47.
Anderson gets the first telling of the blow of the round with a straight right but that only spurs Groves on. He finally starts doubling down on the body hooks that had given Anderson real problems in the fourth and quickly takes control of the fight. Anderson cannot block the body shots, with Groves really pressing the action. Anderson is visibly effected by the shots, looking tired with his guard increasingly open. A couple of body hooks followed by a glancing uppercut and Anderson is falling back. Groves piles on and the referee calls it at 2:35. Enjoyable fight from these two with Anderson giving Groves the test that all British boxing fans have been calling for. Whilst Groves didn’t exactly impress with his overall performance, he showed impressive resilience to comeback from a terrible third and fourth round. He also showed reassuringly clinical finishing skills as well.
George Groves defeated Kenny Anderson by TKO at 2:35 at the Sixth Round
So what’s better than having Lennox Lewis as a pundit? How about having Frank Bruno as a guest pundit? Bruno delivers the goods talking about the pretty ringside girls, Lewis flying in from Jamaica and reassuring the audience at home that he doesn’t fancy Audley Harrison.
There’s an issue with the fighters’ gloves with Harrison’s camp rejecting the ones provided to him by the Haye camp as they’ve been rejected by the British Board of Control and World Boxing Association. Apparently the Haye camp is trying to claim breach of contract.
Yet more previewing of the Haye-Harrison, as Sky has bizarrely decided not to show any more of the undercard (including the British Bantamweight Title fight between Hall and Davies) live. Terrible decision from Sky – this is the highest profile boxing fight in Britain for sometime and surely they would want to use it to expose as many fighters as possible? And its even worse when you consider there’s every chance that the main event will be exceptionally short and a decent undercard would at least ensure fans got a good night of action.
Ricky Hatton interview about the fight. Actually looks alright although not as svelte as some of the more exceptional reports suggested.
Sky is nothing if not subtle, bringing Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno out to pose in the center of the ring. Anyone think they’re trying to draw a (false) comparison with a certain heavyweight title fight that took place in Cardiff on October 1st 1993?
Lennox Lewis firmly stamps out the rumor that he may consider coming out of retirement, saying that its time for younger heavyweight to be the focus.
Interesting sights from the two fighters dressing room, Harrison campaigning to keep the Stonebridge Activity Center open whilst Haye seems to have his right calve bandaged.
In another trip down memory lane, Nigel Benn is wheeled out to give his thoughts on the fight. Sky’s certainly leaving no stone unturned.
WBA World Heavyweight title
(c) David Haye (210Ibs; 24-1, 22KO) v Audley Harrison (253Ibs; 27-4; 20KO)
Mixed reaction for Harrison although far move boos than cheers. Very elaborate video entrance is slightly undermined by Harrison deciding to come out to Phil Collins, “In The Air Tonight”. Harrison looks relatively relaxed as he steps into the ring to a chorus of boos. David Haye comes out to an overwhelming positive reaction.
On paper Harrison has a significant height advantage but an eight-inch reach advantage. If he has any chance of pulling off the biggest shock in heavyweight boxing history then he’ll have to use his physical advantages to work the jab and stop Haye getting inside. Again whatever criticisms people had of this match, one cannot deny the buzz there is around the fight. Here we go.
Harrison has a high guard and takes the centre of the ring Harrison is pushing position without pushing the action. Haye is trying to draw Harrison out of his tight defense with feints but the southpaw is having none of it. Haye tries to rush in with a straight punch but Harrison can easily move out of the way. Harrison throws the odd jab. Crowd starting to boo. Haye again tries to lunge in but can’t. No punches landed in a bad round of action and the curtain is pulled to one side in the land of Oz. 10-10.
Harrison is significantly bigger than Haye, and that is causing the champion all sorts of problems when he tries to close the distance. Harrison is fighting extremely defensively, forcing Haye to lunge to connect. Haye is able to connect with a couple of punches but as he’s having to leap in they have no power. Harrison is immediately covering up whenever Haye throws a punch. Another round without any meaningful action but Haye did enough to take the round this time. 20-19 to Haye.
Haye manages to get inside and pepper Harrison with multiple body shots on the inside. Harrison has completely lost his composure and is struggling to get away from Haye. Haye piles forward and Harrison is struggling. Harrison is desperately trying to cover up on the rope but Haye is unloading several hooks, straight jabs and a tasty uppercut. Harrison collapses and takes a long ten-count to get back to his feet. Haye rushes in and finishes the fight without ever taking a punch from Harrison.
David Haye defeated Audley Harrison via TKO at one minute fifty three seconds in the third round.
A terrible fight and actually managed to fail to meet even my low expectations. Harrison went into survival mode from the very first round and wasn’t even willing to throw punches let alone land one. When talking to Sky afterwards Haye reveals that he had put money on winning the fight in the third round (he’s talked about doing similar things in the past) and again criticized the quality of the Klitschkos’ opposition. Which shows a simply amazing lack awareness.
There are not enough words to explain what is wrong with tonight’s show. Yes they had managed to attract the casual fanbase like no other boxing fight had managed in the UK this year but they did nothing to capitalize on it. Not only did they fail to use the undercard to highlight prospects for the future but they actually failed to put on any undercard. A decision that will only result in the 8minute non-fight that headlined feel even more of a rip-off to the fans who paid to purchase the pay per view. Sky may have seriously damaged their ability promote fights in the future.
Harrison’s year long comeback had a sad ending, with Harrison not trusting himself to even go down fighting. Instead he fights within himself as he’s done so many time during his career. This is surely his last fight.As for Haye, if he doesn’t agree terms with the Klitschkos (and one gets the feeling from Sky’s Head of Boxing’s questions after the fight that Sky is keen for him to do so) that he’ll struggle to convince British fans to accept him against another substandard opponent.
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Tags: Audley Harrison, Boxing, David Haye, Heavyweight boxing