LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — David Price lasted longer, but ultimately couldn’t outgun Tony Thompson in an inside firefight, suffering his second knockout loss to the veteran American contender in the last four months. This fight was supposed to be Price’s redemption, the one where his dispelled the bad chin tag and showed that his brief training with Lennox Lewis would develop skills that would lead him to the top of the heavyweight division. What fans got was more questions, chief among them being whether Price has the mental strength to regain the confidence that Thompson has clearly taken from him.
A SOMBER EVENING IN LIVERPOOL: Following what seemed to be endless intros (including a horrid saxophone rendition of “Born in the USA” that had Apollo Creed spinning in his grave), the first round was a cautious one with Price reluctant to commit to any shots beyond a pawing jab. Thompson wasn’t active himself, but his body movement didn’t have the stiffness or jerky clumsiness of Price’s, indicating that the American vet was much more comfortable with the tense atmosphere.
Price got going in the second by landing well with 1-2 combos. He hurt Thompson with a straight right and forced Thompson into a few wild exchanges. With Price being the bigger puncher, Thompson summarily got the worst of it and was sprawled out on the ropes courtesy of a counter right hook. Thompson rose very slowly at eight and seemed one shot from having another seat. But with just 10 seconds remaining, he was able to survive the stanza.
Price’s confidence appeared through the roof early in the third when he stunned Thompson into the ropes with another right hand. However, Price got very impatient and continued throwing power shots, many of them telegraphed and without the jab setting them up. Thompson remained cool, and by the round’s midway point you could see Price’s movements becoming lethargic.
When Price tried to rest inside, Thompson made him pay with sneaky uppercuts and southpaw right hooks. Price’s decision to cover up inside rather than clinch was costly — Thompson was smart with his punches and made sure his power shots were in position to land around and through Price’s guard.
Th fourth round was no better as Thompson took complete control behind his inside work. Price was a spent bullet, and in the fifth Thompson had him bleeding from the nose behind the constant barrage of in-close hooks and uppercuts. Price stumbled back into the ropes with Thompson right there abusing him with right hands. The ref did Price a hometown favor by stopping the assault for an eight-count. Those few seconds didn’t help and showed Price in dire straits lulling backwards on the ropes, giving the referee no choice but to call off the bout.
THOMPSON’S WISE WORDS: Tony Thompson admitted what we all know — most fighters are scared to death before entering the ring. In Price, he saw a fighter that “scared the hell out of him” — a huge, athletic, young heavyweight with big power. But unlike most fighters, Thompson is where he’s at because he knows how to channel and control that fear. In Price, he sees a guy who hasn’t mastered that essential tool yet.
Price was in great condition but his mind wasn’t.
It was quite obvious from Price’s body language that he was dealing with a lot of nervous energy. Not being relaxed is the quickest way to tire yourself out — your muscles stay tensed and you’re not breathing properly to get your body the oxygen it needs.
Much was also made about Thompson working with Lennox Lewis. But as Thompson pointed out, there’s only so much he was going to pick up in just a few months.
TONY THE HIP-SNAPPER: Speaking of Thompson, he gave the funniest post-fight interview I’ve seen in some time. He boasted that he was going to “break his wife’s hip” in the bedroom after going all camp with no sex (“Oh, there will be pain…”). Such a romantic, that Thompson is. I guess Price learned the hard way you don’t stand between a horny man and his woman.
CAN PRICE REBOUND?: If I were a betting man, I’d say no. Sure, Wladimir Klitschko came back from three KO defeats, but none of them were back to back like this, let alone the losses coming from the same man. To have this happen twice and in front of your hometown fans, it will always be in the back of his mind anytime he gets buzzed by a punch or is in there with an opponent who can take his shots.
TYSON FURY LOVES IT: Tyson Fury has bene clowning on Price since the first KO and he was at it again right after this one.
@LennoxLewis I told Lennox that price would not make it but nice try mayb team Fury will let u carry the bucket! Lol
— Tyson Fury (@Tyson_Fury) July 6, 2013
He won’t be laughing after facing David Haye — I have the Hayemaker knocking him out in devastating fashion. Should that happen, don’t be surprised if Price and Fury face off in crossroads fights next year.