Friday, April 14, 2006

Coulda vs. Shoulda: Guinn decisions Harrison

By JE Grant

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. --- Dominick Guinn, 26-3-1 (18 KOs), Little Rock, 228, outworked a lackluster Audley Harrison, 19-2 (14 KOs), England, 255, to take a clear and unanimous 10-round decision and reclaim some lost ground in his once promising career Friday night.

Guinn and Harrison were competing in what many saw as a wasted-talent contest. Both men demonstrated extraordinary talent early in their amateur and professional careers only to be knocked off track as they neared the elite of the division.

For the Guinn fight, Harrison seemed to have simply picked up where he left off with Danny Williams in England in his last fight. Long periods of posing. No jab to speak of. Rare combinations. No obvious desire to win.

He claimed going in that his training and focus were improved but it just did not show.

Guinn, himself guilty of letting fights slip away to lesser talents, obviously came to win. Taking advantage of the invitation to fight inside against his much taller opponent, Guinn belted Harrison to the body and scored with occasional combinations to the head throughout the contest.

Sporadic left hands from the southpaw Harrison enabled him to pick up three rounds in the bout but certainly not convincingly.

The second half of the fight was almost all Guinn as he continually worked inside and Harrison did not make him pay to work his way in. The bigger man landed left uppercuts that had some steam but they were rare and not followed with any substantial follow-up.

Scoring of the bout was 98-92; 97-93; and 97-93 all for Guinn. JEBoxing scored the bout 97-93.

Harrison, of course, is a one-time super-heavyweight Olympic gold medal winner. Rarely does a heavyweight skill-fighter such as Harrison come along with physical advantages that others could only dream about.

At nearly 6’6”, the southpaw Harrison gutted his way to the gold in Sydney through injury and pain. He seemed to be the complete package; size, skill, power, and grit. The ingredients of a professional heavyweight hero.

Although relatively old at age 29 for his pro debut, Harrison proceeded with great fanfare into the paid ranks.

He went for the gold early as pro with a fat television contract with the BBC. He pounded a series of low-level opponents, but the folks at the BBC were not thrilled with continuing to spend the big bucks to maintain the contract when its three-year run ended.

Moving his fight plan to the United States he took on tough journeymen Robert Davis and Robert Wiggins and appeared on the verge of a top ten breakthrough.

His Commonwealth title contest with former world title challenger – and conqueror of the vestiges of Mike Tyson – Danny Williams was supposed to be the “name” on his record that would propel him to a major bout.

Instead it was the comebacking Williams who claimed victory with a close 12-round decision and with it a chance for bigger paydays. (In fact he went on take a win in his next bout over the previously undefeated Matt Skelton in another all-British affair).

While Harrison, at age 34 was fighting to get back on track, Guinn, nearly 31, was struggling to keep himself off the club-show circuit.

Like Harrison, Guinn was an amateur star. In logging more than 300 amateur bouts, Guinn came close to capturing an Olympic bid before losing to Calvin Brock in the American trials.

Unlike Harrison, he gained an early professional reputation as a prospect with considerable skill and sharp power. His left hook was compared to the legends of the game for its quick, hard delivery.

High visibility wins over one-time prospect Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari, shown to HBO audiences, led to the label of him being the “next” big thing. He seemed complete.

Then it all came crashing down. A clear points loss to highly ranked contender Monte Barrett was first seen as a stumble. Two fights later, another points loss, this time to the talented Serguei Lyakhovich (the new WBO titlist) and the whispers began.

His next fight ended in a draw with Friday Ahunanya, who was coming off two losses. Not incidentally, Ahunanya went on to a stoppage loss to Sultan Ibragimov in his next bout.

Now the whispers turned into major doubts. A chance at redemption ended in a disappointing decision loss to James Toney.

With that loss, Guinn entered the ring against Harrison not on HBO but on ESPN2. He also entered not as the featured fighter but as the “name” opponent.

Now a winner once more, Guinn will undoubtedly move ahead in rankings and money fights.

For Audley Harrison, now with back-to-back losses, time is running out.

25 Comments:

Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Excellent read JE,and spot-on.Ever heard that phrase,"He who dared to be great"? Well...

"He who dared to be mediocre in this one".

AH...Has to be one of the most disappointing hvy's in history.JE,you and I are roughly the same age--name me one that outdoes him in that category? BEFORE capturing the 'brass ring'.There have been a few that are close...But I think Audley is #1 in that category!

I honestly think 10-years from now,I could write an article on Audley that is much more compelling than his career.He was 'special' in that regard.

(I have to at least wait 10-years for the pain and expectations to transpire & fade...LOL...:-)

1:11 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

*Sidenote-Did you see ol Joe 'work' the hvy bag tonight? Simply put--"I found it both sad and beautiful".His balance was bad,his back looked to be still bothering him,and there was nothing whatsoever behind those punches...

"Except for undying spirit..."

*BB*

3:49 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I saw the bag work of Smokin' Joe and agree. Did you hear the ringside commentary by James Toney?

4:53 AM  
Blogger orltroy said...

Cruiser, you don't have to wait ten years to write an more intersting article on Harriosn himself. JE just did it. I don't understand why someone would become a professional boxer, if they truly don't want to fight. That's just me though. I am officially closing the book on Harrison. Yeah he still has a chance of resurrecting his career, but I don't care, or think he will for that matter. All any of his future opponents will have to do is throw punches, and just walk up to Harrison to do it; he won't stop them. He is done, period.

3:50 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Oltroy -- There are plenty of hungry youngsters out there who don't have to be coaxed into throwing punches. Harrison will fade away.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

What can I say here??? You guys nailed it.And Orltroy must have been 'reading my mind' a few days back,because Tyrell Biggs was the only other guy that came to my mind...

12:06 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

As for the ringside commentary of JT--First of all,he's not that bad in that regard.But second of all...I can never quite (fully) understand what he's saying!!!??? (LOL!) I got a bit of a kick out of when Atlas confronted him about his weight.He said that the reason he came in heavy,was because he had the flu.Now...From my prespective (And dare I say Troy's medical prespective!) MORE OFTEN THAN not...People are more apt to LOSE weight when the have the flu,versus gaining weight.Now,yes...I know 'idiosyncratic and idiopathic oddities' do occasionally occur,but I tell you what that moment reminded me of;it reminded me of when I was a small child,and my Dad would catch me red-handed doing something I wasn't supposed to! (e.g "Uhh...But Dad,I had the flu!!!???") LOL...Kudos to the 'straight-shooter' Atlas for Putting him on 'the spot'...:-)

12:28 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Also...Great title here JE.Yes...Perfect in fact...

(I'm a 'sucker' for a great title folks...:-)

1:34 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-The best hvy in the U.K right now in my opinion JE?

Roman Greenberg.

He's not the best hvy in the world,or Europe,but I think he's tops right now in the U.K.I look for him to beat Williams for the Commonwealth belt sometime later this year.(I believe he will be fighting Paolo Vidoz for the Euro belt next.)

4:26 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

JE-

Kind of an interesting upcoming hvy fight is 2004 Gold Medalist Alexander Povetkin against Friday Ahunanya.This is a fairly big and bold step for Povetkin JE,as he has only had 6 or 8 pro fights.No,Friday is no 'world-beater',but he's a good journeymen,with a bit better power than his record would indicate,and has been in with solid competition and sparred with the absolute BEST.I would have to give some praise and kudos to the young Povetkin and camp here...

P.S-The thought just occured to me,while typing that (2004 Gold winner) that is has now been going on SIX YEARS since Audley won his medal.Wow.Not only did his career for all intents and purposes come to a stop this year,but it was in 'low and neutral gear' up until that point.Geez,if young Povetkin beats Friday,he will already have in effect equaled Audley's pro accomplishments!

5:38 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

P.S.Not sure if it's possible JE,and I do indeed see that The Top-25 is over to the side there,but perhaps we can't get that 'bad boy' somehow 'seperated' (moved elsewhere,towards the top perhpas?) or highlighted or something...Hmmm...*Puffs on Pipe*...

6:27 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-It's only Tuesday,but I am predicting Povetkin to beat Friday on Saturday.(lol)

*But I do think he will be forced to go the 8 (or 10?) round distance probably.

:-)

6:36 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

JE!

Are we going to get a little Byrd/Vlad Povetkin/Ahunaya write-up by Friday or Saturday? Barring an illness,vacation,or you being preoccupid with such 'trivial matters' as the Nation's security--I think we should! (lol)

P.S-I think Vlad may be the PRESENT,but for some reason...I feel compelled to look towards the (possible) 'future'...

*BB*

1:56 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

You know I'm going to cover Klitschko-Byrd. That's a given. As for Povetkin, I know I'll mention it in my monthly Top 25.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

*Smiles*

Even though he's 'only' a good journeymen JE,a victory for the Gold Medal winner Povetkin would undoubtedly put him on 'the fringes' IMO.And with less than 10 pro fights,and under-25 yrs.old.

Pretty impressive.Well see...

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Toney said...

Fraudley's a punk. Why you waste so much time writing about him.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

*Chuckle* Well,he was a Gold Medal winner,but something tells me this might be the last time you ever read a lengthy article on Harrison here "Mr.Toney".

Just a hunch.

;-)

12:08 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-In case you didn't catch it JE,Povetkin won,but was indeed taken the distance.I didn't see it,but beating Friday (and getting in rounds for that matter) is a pretty big positive for his young career.The plan is to start putting him in 10-rounders after he has 10 or 12 fights (total)which will be soon.He could possibly 'bust out' and into contention as soon as 2007 perhaps.Incidentally Denis Boytsov,didn't have nearly the quality or lenghty amatuer career that Povetkin had,and is just SO young at (19 or 20!) I would expect them to 'step it up' in 2007,but wouldn't expect anything significant until 2008.No rush with him,they have time on their side.

*Incidentally Povetkin is under-25 as well.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

A few guys you are going to be hearing about very soon are Ibragimov,Dimentrinko,Chagaev,and Greenberg.

As well as the young 'hotshot' Brit cruiser David Haye who will undoubtedly be making the jump to hvy in 2007.

Peace...

12:18 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

You might even say Ibragimov times 2.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yeah,that's true JE.I just have never seen the cousin,but we well soon.My understanding is that he is very well-schooled,but doesn't have quite the speed or 'pop' that his slightly younger cousin does.

But hey.Remember people/pundits going 'back and forth' in comparing and arguing about another pair of overseas hvy relatives recently?

Hmm...:-)

7:34 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Test.

4:32 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

You passed the test :)

6:22 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- We're looking forward to the Brock-T. Ibragimov fight in June.

3:14 AM  

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