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David Price vs. Tom Little on Dec.22 at O2 Arena

David Price

By Scott Gilfoid: David Price will be fighting journeyman Tom Little in heavyweight action on the undercard of Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora II on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. The 35-year-old former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Price (22-6 18 KOs) needs a win over the the 31-year-old Little (10-6, 3 KOs) to return to his winning ways following his recent consecutive knockout defeats to Sergey Kuzmin and Alexander Povetkin in 2018. Price vs. Little is a tough match to predict a winner, as both guys have been looking poor lately and both are coming off of 2 consecutive knockout defeats. Little has the better stamina of the two by a long shot, but Price has the size, punching power and the pedigree going for him.

Chances are that if Price bum rushes Little in the 1st round, he’ll get him out of there quickly. It would be a race against time though. If Price doesn’t KO Little in the first two rounds, he’ll be at great risk of gassing out and getting stopped like he did in his defeat against Christian Hammer in 2017.

It’s a good thing that Price’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been keeping him busy, but it’s terrible that he keeps getting knocked out left and right. Why does Price keep getting knocked out? If there was an easy answer to that question, he might have already fixed the problem and gone on to world honors. Little has an advantage over Price in that he knows that all he needs to do to win is hang around for four rounds until he fades, and then take him out when he’s near helpless from fatigue.

Price has been knocked out in three of his last four fights since 2017. Besides his knockout losses to Povetkin and Kuzmin, he’s also been beaten by Christian Hammer by knockout. Price cannot afford another knockout at this point in his career, especially against a lower level journeyman level fighter like the Little. Price was forced to bow out in the 4th round against Kuzmin last September with a torn bicep. It’s unclear what the status is of Price’s torn biceps. It’s hard to imagine that it’ll fully healed just three months after the injury. If Price goes into the fight with Little with just one good arm working for him, we might see a repeat of his last fight by him pulling up lame after a handful of rounds.

It would be a good idea for the British Boxing Board of Control to make sure Price is 100% healthy before he steps foot inside the ring with Little, as it would be a pity if the fight is stopped in two or three rounds because of his same bicep injury that caused the stoppage of his last fight against Kuzmin. Little isn’t a good fighter, but he’ll have a good chance of beating Price if his torn bicep isn’t healed all the way. Price’s main problem isn’t so much his bicep. It’s his punch resistance or lack thereof. He takes a nose dive when he’s clobbered by his opponents, and his stamina is something awful. It’s a combination of those two things that has really derailed Price’s once promising boxing career. Up until Price fought Tony Thompson in 2012, he was seen as a future heavyweight world champion in the making in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Price’s two knockout losses to Thompson seemed to undermine his confidence, and at the same time, his ability to take a hard punch disappeared overnight. The 6’8″ Price has not been able to take a good shot without getting knocked out since his 2 defeats at the hands of Thompson. In hindsight, it was a REALLY bad idea for Price’s promoter at the time to put him in with an old veteran like the 6’5″ Thompson. You have to wonder what Price’s management was thinking in letting him fight Thompson so early in his career.

Price isn’t the only one that has been losing left and right recently. Little has been knocked out early in his last two fights against Daniel Dubois and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Filip Hrgovic. Both of those stoppage losses came in 2018. Before that, Little had looked good in 2017, winning all three of his fights in that year against the capable Tom Dallas, Kamil Sokolowski and Josh Sandland. Dallas was someone that the boxing fans were high on from 2008 to 2011. Unfortunately, Dallas’ career has imploded ever since he was knocked out in the 2nd round by a prime David Price in 2011. Dallas still has the punching power and the good size he’s always had, but the chin and speed have deteriorated obviously. Little knocked Dallas out in the 1st round in February 2017. To KO Dallas so quickly shows that Little has some pop in his punches. That could be bad news for Price, as Dallas’ chin is on par with his own. If Little can put hands on Price in the first two rounds before he’s gotten his own offense ramped up, we could see a minor upset on December 22. You can’t say it would be a major upset

“This is a real fight. He’s well schooled now and he’s also as tough and game as they come,” Price said to ”I can’t go from fighting the likes of Alexander Povetkin and Sergey Kuzmin to fighting knock-over jobs because I need the threat in front of me. We’ve done lots of rounds of sparring and I’ve seen him improve a lot during that time. He’s certainly closed the gap that was between us when we first started sparring.”

That doesn’t sound good that Price is saying that a journeyman like Little is now pretty much on the same level as him. At least you can give Price credit for being painfully honest in judging his own talent. Price certainly isn’t blowing smoke up anyone’s backside by saying that he and Little are on the same level talent-wise. The thing, Price isn’t old at 36. Heavyweights are supposed to mature late, and hang around into their 40s when they’ve got the kind of size Price possesses. But for some reason, Price has been fighting like an old man since 2012, and it’s now worrisome to see him absorbing so many knockout defeats at such a rapid pace. When does it end?

Despite Price and Little seemingly going nowhere fast with their careers, David sees the winner of this fight as having opportunists for big fights in the heavyweight division. Price doesn’t elaborate in what he means by big fights. He can’t be talking about the winner of his fight with Little challenging for a world title against Anthony Joshua. That’s not going to happen. At best, the Price vs. Little winner might get a fight against someone like the loser of the Whyte vs. Chisora II fight, or possibly Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller or Dave Allen. Little thinks Price’s recent stoppage losses to Povetkin and Kuzmin has taken something out of him. What’s interesting is Little doesn’t comment about what his own recent knockout losses to Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic has taken out of him. Little was really hammered in those two fights. Although Little isn’t getting stretched in the same way Price has been, he’s losing just the same and looking bad. Little talking about Price losing is like the pot calling the kettle black.

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