• Boxing

Haye outclasses Harrison in one-sided title fight

ESPN staff
November 13, 2010
Haye hammers one-punch Harrison

David Haye v Audley Harrison gallery

David Haye completely outclassed Audley Harrison to defend his WBA world heavyweight title on Saturday, stopping the challenger with a flurry of big right hands in the third round.

After an opening six minutes that qualified more as a feeling-out session than a fight, Haye opened up in the third, buckling Harrison against the ropes. The accuracy and relentless speed of the champion's punches allowed Harrison no respite, and he eventually hit the deck after several meaty blows.

Harrison survived the initial ten count, but he was only delaying the inevitable as Haye rushed back into action, forcing the referee to step in and end the fight.

All of Harrison's pre-fight talk had centred on his size advantage, on how a 'good big one always beats a good little one'. However, that saying assumed that the 39-year-old was worthy of being labelled the good big one. When Harrison steps out under the spotlight, too often he shrinks under the pressure, and that was true of Saturday's performance as the southpaw failed to throw a single left hand of note.

Harrison had stated that the world heavyweight title was his 'destiny', that the universe was on his side. Having won Olympic gold ten years earlier, he was convinced nothing would stop him fulfilling his professional dream. However, inside the ring, he seemed to be expecting those factors to win the fight for him as Haye made all the running.

The champion drew immediate attention on his walk to the ring, after he revealed some serious-looking strapping on his right leg. Given the fact that he was giving away three inches in height and three stones in weight, doubts over Haye's speed suddenly raised alarm for fans of the Bermondsey fighter.

For two rounds it was difficult to see if the injury was affecting Haye as he took a safety-first approach, only putting together the occasional combination to worry his opponent. The problem for Harrison was, every combination looked like it did worry him... greatly.

With Harrison backing away at all opportunities, Haye's corner clearly gave the orders to go for the kill in the third round, and the champion responded with that trademark left-hook lead followed by the big right as Harrison's chin began to crack. Now covering up more than ever, Harrison was a sitting duck as Haye picked holes in his rival's defence, utilising uppercuts and straight right hands, eventually stopping the fight at 1.53 of the third round.

Earlier in the night, George Groves recovered from a third-round knockdown to deliver a sixth-round stoppage of Kenny Anderson. Groves looked in real danger of losing his Commonwealth super-middleweight title, but he regrouped to pull out an admirable victory.

The Hayemaker fighter is expected to engage in a future fight with fellow Brit James DeGale, a man he defeated earlier in his career. In the end, it was his body punches that made the difference against Anderson, before he switched upstairs to end the fight with 25 seconds left in the sixth.

"I don't think it was too much of a crisis," Groves said of his knockdown on Sky Sports. "He caught me and it was a good shot. I felt calm and composed and I just had to get back to my boxing. I didn't quite stick to the gameplan but I showed I could out-strength a strong man and come back for the win."

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