If you wanted to identify the poster boy for sports that used to be prominent and now are mere sideshows, it would be hard to find a better example than boxing.
Once a centerpiece of both American and worldwide sports fans, the roster of current boxing champions and contenders—with a couple of high-profile exceptions—reads not like a Who’s Who, but a who’s that?
Case in point: Audley Harrison, a heavyweight boxer from Harlesden, England,who’s set to tangle tomorrow night on a boxing card in Liverpool in what the British sporting press has dubbed “a big-time bout.” Who is Audley Harrison, you ask?
For the record, Harrison became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal as a superheavyweight at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He’s one of the modern breed of oversized heavyweights, standing 6 foot 5 and weighing 245 (shades of “Big John!”).
After the 2000 Olympics, Harrison turned pro, fought a long string of nobodies and gradually went downhill, eventually losing what was supposed to be a promotional match to an unknown Belfast taxi driver in 2008. But as any boxing fan knows, old fighters never retire, they just keep getting older (and slower), and at the age of 39, Harrison won a televised boxing reality show tournament, went on to capture the European heavyweight title in 2010 and later became the British Commonwealth champion.
Which is a little like being crowned champion of American rugby. Big deal.
Here’s what’s interesting about this otherwise unremarkable match: Harrison’s opponent.
He is one David Price, a 29-year-old, undefeated (13-0) giant of a boxer who stands 6 foot 9 and weighs in at 240 lbs. Along with being younger, taller and ostensibly more talented, Price has racked up a reputation as a bit of outlier in terms of his training techniques.
For example, after finishing 12 rounds of shadow boxing, he plunges himself into a bath of ice cold water, “sitting there for nearly 15 minutes until almost frozen solid,” according to a story in Great Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper.
Along with the ice baths, he has a physical therapist, a sports scientist and a strength and conditioning coach on his training team.
Putting hops in your game
What’s really unique about Price’s training regimen, though, is his diet: He subsists on kangaroo meat. “Mountains of kangaroo meat,” according to the Telegraph Sport.