MIKE MIDDLETON was a heavyweight journeyman and his unremarkable career began in 1995. His name was a frequent fixture on the spotless ledgers of heavyweight hopes, and the jolly Floridian can no doubt provide stories concerning the likes of Cedric Boswell, Owen Beck and Duncan Dokiwari. Those tales may well be heard in the future but today, across a transatlantic phone line, the happy raconteur takes us back to 2001, when Middleton was chosen as the inaugural professional victim for Britain’s Olympic gold medallist from the previous summer, Audley Harrison.
“Do you know, I had actually seen him [Harrison] a few months before our fight and it’s funny because, like most of his career, no one knew who he was then either,” remarks Middleton mischievously. “Audley had won gold that summer and he was in Vegas for the Lennox Lewis-David Tua fight, and he was walking around the hotel and not a soul inside the place knew who he was.
“This huge man who I thought stood out was just walking around the hotels and casinos and not a person was even asking for an autograph.”