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Price’s tactics costs him the fight with Thompson

By James Smith: Mark Twain once suggested “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Tony ‘The Tiger’ Thompson once again showed that this saying is equally applicable to big cats, as he walked through 6’8 Liverpudlian David Price in 5 rounds last night.

As the fight is analyzed and discussed, no doubt many will point to Price’s tactics – or lack of them – as the primary reason for his second crushing defeat within 6 months to this wily old cat. We don’t need CompuBox statistics to tell us what was glaringly obvious to all in attendance – Price did not use a jab in this fight. This seemingly reckless abandonment of his principal weapon was quickly followed by neglecting his footwork, head movement and any form of viable defence. He successfully landed his trademark bIg right in the second round, and duly dumped the Tiger onto his stripes, but Tigers are predators and Thompson showed his durability to pick himself up and regroup.

By the fourth and fifth rounds last night, Price was gassed out, perhaps due to a combination of throwing huge, wild shots and shattered nerves. He started to ship punishment and was stopped whilst bizarrely trying to hang over the ring ropes to avoid further punishment. He didn’t at any point attempt to turn this ugly by holding, or take a knee to get his breath back, and continued to swing almost aimlessly as Thompson circled him landing at will. The end was inevitable, and perhaps belated, as Price looked beaten and defenceless for at least a minute before the referee jumped in.

David Price is a huge heavyweight with an 82” reach, and was born with a gift from nature in his giant frame and power in his right hand to match. He is also bright and pensive, and speaks articulately in interviews. As a former bronze medal Olympian with a long amateur career, he should be well aware what his strengths are, but more importantly, also recognise his weaknesses. Coming into the professional ranks many questioned Price’s chin, these questions remain unanswered. Boxers are taught that the jab is an important weapon, it’s also the first form of defence.

Price has been favourably compared over the last 2 years to Britain’s other rising young heavyweight, Tyson Fury. As Price has racked up a quick succession of early knockout victories over domestic opponents, Fury has carefully stepped up his level of opposition. Fury has been in wars such as with the then unbeaten Bosnian Nevan Pajkic and has been rocked, yet has shown his own durability to turn things around and step it up when necessary. His first real test on the international stage was against former world title challenger Kevin Johnson. Fury proceeded to jab and move for 12 rounds, winning a near shut-out decision. Price would have been well advised to watch a tape of that fight in preparation for this ‘redemption’, but has found out the hard way that knockout power will only get you so far.

Due to his tremendous punching power, Price will always have the capability to trouble any heavyweight, yet due to his massive frame acting as a huge target, and lack of any discernible defence or inside game, he will remain extremely vulnerable. Nobody knows what David Price will do next, only he knows what is in his own mind, and it would take incredible self-belief to come back from this to world level boxing. However, the likeable Liverpudlian has all the physical tools to remodel himself and start again from the bottom. The question now is how much does he want it, and is he willing to start over?

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