David Price Stepping in the Right Direction
By Michael Byrne: David Price (15-0, 13 KO’s) will meet Tony Thompson (36-3, 24 KO’s) in the Echo Arena on February 23rd. It would seem Price’s promoter, Frank Maloney, is finally willing to put his prize possession in a big fight.
Price finally met with a ‘decent’ record in mid-2011 when he was put in with late replacement Tom Dallas, who was 15-0 at the time, but Dallas had never fought anyone of note, either. After putting him away in 2 rounds, Price has stayed with domestic level fighters in John McDermott, Sam Sexton, Audley Harrison, and Matt Skelton. These four lasted a grand total of 7 rounds against the very heavy-handed Price. One could argue that Skelton was a step in the right direction. A former European title-holder, Skelton has been in with some reasonable names, but at 45, is a faded fighter. Nevertheless, he came out fighting at the first bell, and found Price’s chin a couple of times as he cut the ring off. Skelton also took at least one flush right hand clean on the chin without looking pained, before Price went down to the body with a left-hook to hurt him.
Tony Thompson has pitched near shutouts against second-tier fighters such as Dominick Guinn and Timur Ibragimov, but fell short in his two big chances against Wladimir Klitschko. In their first meeting, Thompson stayed on his feet until they became strangely tangled with Klitschko’s, and he was then stopped in the 11th. The fight was one-sided, with Thompson maybe edging the first round before tasting Klitschko’s power and entering survival mode. The second meeting, Thompson’s most recent fight, wasn’t close by any stretch of the imagination.
David Haye has compared Price’s style to that of the Klitschko brothers, which bodes well for Price, seeing how Wladimir had a relatively easy time with Thompson on both occasions. Haye sparred Price before his own (farcical) challenging of Wladimir Klitschko, and seems to have liked what Price had to offer. Interestingly, Haye has also sparred Thompson in the past. Any pre-fight predictions by Haye should be listened to with a certain amount of interest.
For what it’s worth, this writer sees Price claiming yet another knockout victory, probably in the second half of the fight. Price showed no trouble in finding the chin of a big southpaw when he finished ‘Fraudley’ Harrison in 82 seconds in October. Thompson doesn’t have anything in terms of offense that should worry Price, but his experience should be enough to allow him to last a few uncomfortable rounds. Maybe his strong right-handed jab might find it’s home a couple of times, but don’t expect him to beat Price in the battle of the jabs: Price will land more jabs, and more importantly, they will open up spaces for his right hand to land.
It’s nice to see Price finally make that step up from the domestic scene and onto world level. Perhaps if he sees victory in February, Price can go after a couple more Klitschko victims: Mariusz Wach and Manuel Charr would be good candidates. A bout with Thomas Adamek would be a great idea in a couple of fights’ time. Many critics are claiming ‘Goral’ was either crushed or exposed by Vitali Klitschko in September 2011, and he’s looked somewhat flat in recent, perhaps lucky decision victories over Eddie Chambers and Steve Cunningham. Perhaps Price wouldn’t let the fight go to the judges.