David Price’s rise to the top of the heavyweight rankings came to an abrupt halt on Saturday night when he was knocked out in round two by veteran campaigner and former two time world title challenger Tony Thompson at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Thompson was Price’s first big test, only beaten 3 times in a 39 fight career going in; 2 were to Wladimir Klitschko for the world titles and the other a disputed 4 round unanimous decision loss in 2000 to Eric Kirkland; Thompson was not a man to be taken lightly, overlooked or under estimated, he is a stern test for any top 10 heavyweight contender.
It was felt before hand that Thompson at 41 was some kind of washed up journeyman who Price was going to walk through on his way to fighting the top men of the division, but in effect this was a fight that would determine rankings and Thompson still has big plans of his own and proved it.
Price, 29, was being hailed by most as the real deal, the man who everyone was avoiding and a sure bet to take over the reigns and dominance of the Klitschko brothers for the foreseeable future. But really Price is still learning his professional trade and with 15 fights to his name going in, he was introduced to the hard realities of world level heavyweight professional boxing and the fine line between winning and losing at the top.
Everything happens for a reason and whats happened could eventually turn out to be a positive thing in my career.”
The shot that departed Price from his senses and dropped him at 2:17 of the second round was a clubbing right that caught him behind the ear and immediately dropped the big man. It was a shocking sight to see one of our heavyweight hopes and current British champion down.
He bravely got up off the canvas and beat the referee’s count but his legs had turned to jelly and resembled the walking action of a new born giraffe when the referee asked him to walk towards him and the fight was waved off.
The Echo arena audience not believing what they just witnessed fell into a silenced state and other than a few who were shouting and cursing at a vocally happy Thompson, the atmosphere could have been paired with that of terrible accident, stunned! Price’s fans couldn’t believe what they were watching.
But this is heavyweight boxing and one shot can end it all, when the big men start unloading anything goes and the very best have tasted defeat in this way. Price can comeback from this, many have including British hero Lennox Lewis; who suffered two KO defeats only to return a better fighter for them. But he will have to learn from it quick and improve rapidly, because he will never enter a fight again from here on in with that aura of invincibility he was beginning to muster due to his quick KO record, size and strength a perfect specimen in the genetic mold of the modern heavyweight type cast. But all future opponents will know now if they land clean Price is suspect! Some never recover fully and can become, as they say; gun shy.
It’s just one of those things Ive got to deal with I suppose. It’s disappointing but to be honest it’s not the end of the world, shit happens! I’ll come back stronger.”
This is the part of his career now where Price either sinks or swims, these are the moments that the greats have used to seal their legacies, rising up from the depths to conquer the summit after losing titles or falling off the penultimate ledge with the top just coming into view.
Price after the fight was adamant that this defeat can be put down to a mere setback on his professional boxing journey. He is still the British and Commonwealth champion and is determined to return from this loss, viewing it as an event destined! One that will eventually turn out to be a positive thing in his career. “It’s just one of those things Ive got to deal with I suppose. It’s disappointing but to be honest it’s not the end of the world, shit happens! I’ll come back stronger.
“What happened then was more of a freak than anything, it wasn’t like I was taking a beating or got caught on the chin and was out cold, it was more disorientating and Ive just got to recover from this setback.
“I was boxing patiently you know, I didn’t want to rush in or anything because he was looking for the counter.
“I threw a right uppercut and I dropped me left hand has I threw it and he caught me around the back of the ear and that’s what scrambled me senses, I lost me balance and me legs were gone.
“Ive just got to find a way back and I’m sure I will.”
“This is heavyweight boxing these things happen, Ive been knocking people out and now it’s happened to me and Ive always said I’m not invincible anyone can get caught and get hurt.
“Don’t get me wrong my spirit is broken a little bit because it’s disappointing but as for getting back in there maybe the sooner the better in circumstances like this, but we’ll sit down and have a chat.
“I’m still British and commonwealth champion, I’m not in a bad position and two or three fights down the line this will be ancient history and I’ll be back in a position where I’m talking about doing big things but as it stands it’s a knock, and Ive got to take the knock and get on with it.
“Ive got the mentality where shit happens and worse things happen in life than getting beat in a boxing fight if you put it into perspective like that, but it’s up to me to work hard get myself back in the gym and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Everything happens for a reason and whats happened could eventually turn out to be a positive thing in my career.”
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