“I’ve learned every life lesson that one could learn just by living in the city of Detroit,” junior middleweight contender Tony Harrison tells Breitbart Sports. “If I could do it all over I would do it the exact same way. It made me a soldier.”
Harrison goes into battle in Alabama against undefeated Jarrett Hurd on Fox on Saturday night. The way the 24-1 fighter sees it, the rough times made primetime possible.
“To be a winner, you’ve got to feel defeat,” Harrison points out. “I went from a kid that was always with mom and dad and my brother—eating at the table together, family game day—I went from all of that to losing everything.”
When the landlord evicted his family, a 16-year-old Harrison lost so much more than a roof. He lost his dogs. The evictors unceremoniously tossed his sneakers, boxing trophies, and, worst of all, the robe in which he entered the ring in his amateur debut into a dumpster. Decades earlier, his grandfather, Henry Hank, wore that same robe during a noteworthy career highlighted by a win over Jimmy Ellis and a 62-30-4 record.
“It was a situation that looked like it was going to get violent,” Harrison recalls. “It was guns at the door—too many cops, not enough Harrisons.”
Rather than bitterness, the tests bred appreciation for the city that molded him. His robes and interviews scream Motown; his physiognomy, all the more so. Harrison’s height, weight, and reach all recall one of Detroit’s favorite sons.
“Tommie [Hearns] called me around two weeks ago,” Harrison divulged in an early February interview with Breitbart Sports. “We talked it up for about thirty minutes. I was telling Tommie to come up here. Our conversation was all about boxing. He told me to fight on rhythm and off beat, and throw a jab off beat.”
Harrison plans to do that when he takes on 19-0 Jarrett Hurd on Fox.
“He’s tough, man,” Harrison notes. “I can honestly say this might be the only fighter I’ve fought in the last couple years that’s undefeated.
“That’s a mirror of me. He’s tall just like me. He’s quick just like me. He’s got a lot of pop in his hands just like me. His best attribute would be the hunger, just like me.”
And after beating Hurd, Harrison, at 26 with that many bouts under his belt, looks for a title tilt.
“If you’re not doing it for the gold at the end of the rainbow,” he explains, “you might as well walk in the opposite direction of the rain.”