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Comeback a bad idea for Audley; ROGER'S RANT.

ONE of the saddest sights in sport is the shuffling figure of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time, wracked by Parkinson's Syndrome.

One of the saddest stories of the week is the news that Audley Harrison, aged 41, is to come out of retirement.

Ali was the most elegant fighter in the most brutal of sports - a career record of 56 fights, 51 wins and 37 KOs, and never knocked out.

His decline probably started in Tokyo in 1976, a year after his punishing win over Joe Frazier in the Thriller in Manila.

Ali drew an exhibition match with a Japanese wrester and martial arts fighter - boxers in circus side-shows are never good news.

Hard fights followed, wins shipping too many punches. His doctor quit after Ali refused to retire. Ali lost his title to Leon Spinks in 1978 regaining it, and then retiring, a year later.

It didn't last. Despite the start of shaking hands and stuttering speech, he fought Larry Holmes in 1980. Trainer Angelo Dundee stopped the fight in the 11th to end a battering many consider contributed to Ali's Parkinsonism.

A year later Ali, a mere shadow of The Greatest, lost again and, finally, retired for good.

Harrison's record looks impressive, 31(23 KOs)-7-0, until you notice anyone vaguely recognisable is in the seven and some of the 31 would struggle to get roadsweeper jobs even in Mexico.

His losses include two KOs and two fights stopped to save further punishment - fights against anything but paid punchbags will mean more hammerings.

Harrison, like Ali, was an Olympic champion but, unlike Ali, never really bridged the gulf to the pro game.

It would be a tragedy if their only other similarity was a head hit too many times.

No-one wants to see you hurt - or fight for that matter - so please Audley, stay retired and enjoy your family.

Read Roger's blog at www.birminghammail.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 23, 2013
Words:324
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