Deontay Wilder vs. Audley Harrison: Now or never!
By Ycarratala: This Saturday a very interesting Heavyweight match-up takes place in Sheffield, England featuring two former Olympic Medalists; a Bronze Medalist and a Gold Medalist. The top American heavyweight prospect, Deontay Wilder; the 2008 Beijing Olympics Bronze Medalist who is undefeated as a pro with a 27-0 record and all wins by KO faces 41 year old Audley Harrison of Great Britain who was the 2000 Sydney Olympics Gold Medalist and has a record of 31-6 with 23 KO’s.
Harrison is coming off a high note, having won the February installment of the Prize Fighter Heavyweight Tournament for a second time, the first being back in 2009. Harrison has faced some top contenders, although has failed do beat them. He has loses to Dominick Guinn, Danny Williams, Michael Sprott, and Martin Rogan; he avenged the latter three. The other two loses were at the hands of David Haye for the WBA World Heavyweight Championship and David Price. He has had and up and down career, never meeting the expectations of an Olympic Gold Medalist. This test might very well be his last opportunity to get another big fight.
On the other hand Deontay Wilder has not faced any big names and his biggest win was against little known Kelvin Price and former world title challenger Owen Beck. The big attribute that Wilder has is that he’s used to winning and winning by knockout, therefore he does know the meaning if loosing. Wilder is on the doorsteps to the World Rankings and needs a career defining fight; this could possibly be his big chance. Deontay is hungry to get to the top of the division and eager to quiet the critics who have criticized the way his career has been handled.
While Wilder has been criticized for the opposition he has faced; he only started boxing in October 2005 and in 2007 upset the favorites to win both the National Golden Gloves and the US championships and made the 2008 Beijing Olympics team. In reality this has been a learning experience for Wilder. The plan has been to get Wilder to win and win often, building confidence in the young fighter while gaining experience under the guidance if longtime coach Jay Deas and former welterweight champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Breland. This is the moment for the young fighter to shine on the World stage.
This fight determines how far either man can rise in the division and their careers; for Harrison it’s basically win or you’re done. As for Wilder, he must win to prove he belongs; because a loss to a 41 year old Harrison could be devastating for his career. There are many big fights on the horizon for Deontay Wilder but he needs to make the best of this opportunity.