Making a speedy return after his quick and brutally conclusive 1st-round stoppage over Audley Harrison, British heavyweight star David Price will square off with another veteran, in Matt Skelton on November 30th. Some critics see this fight as another straightforward win for the Liverpool giant who has set pulses racing on both sides of the Atlantic, while harsher critics say the fight is pointless.
Yet Price himself says he both respects 45-year-old “Bedford Bear” Skelton and that he expects a tough night’s work; certainly a longer night than when he went home very early back on October 13th.
“I’m still learning and Matt will bring something new for me,” the 29-year-old said. Price, quite naturally, is a heavy betting favourite, and you will be hard-pressed to find too many experts willing to pick a Skelton win. But in this fight, as was the case with the Harrison showdown, it will primarily be a case of HOW Price wins. Needing an wanting to keep his impressive run going, Price surely knows he will get stick if he allows Skelton to hang around into the later rounds.
Yet despite his advanced age, big Matt remains durable (stopped just three times, one of these inside the limit losses coming via corner retirement) and he isn’t exactly a fighter who has taken years and years of beatings (starting his pro boxing career late), therefore Price will be going some if he manages to bang the former European, British and Commonwealth champ out in double-quick time.
Skelton, always in fine, ready-to-fight shape, has a good chin and he has a great reservoir of stamina. Freakishly strong, Skelton’s main problem is his speed, or lack of it. Price, his lethal right hand thrown with accuracy and speed, will certainly be trying to test Matt’s somewhat stationary chin early.
But Skelton, if he can get inside and lean on the taller, younger man and turn the contest into a physically gruelling slog, will have a shot at making it his fight. Indeed, as fans who have seen Skelton fight will surely agree, this seems to be the former kick-boxer’s only chance Dubbed “The Mudslide” by some less than respectful observers, Skelton can definitely drain a foe by leaning on him, smothering him and by wrestling with him. But if Price manages to maintain distance between he and his challenger, his punches, thrown with leverage, will be far more effective; far more than Skelton’s clubbing shots on the inside.
Price, 14-0(12) does need rounds (so far having gone past the 6th-round just twice) and he may get them at the end of the month. Skelton can be expected to come barrelling in, his chin down, as he tries to work and in turn make Price work. It will be very interesting to see how Price handles the rough, tough inside stuff, that’s for sure. With his long reach and his stunning power, Price’s chances of enjoying another early night cannot be at all written off, but I think Skelton, 27-6(22) will succeed in making it his type of fight for at least a few rounds. Price should be able to handle Skelton’s grappling, even enjoy it as he experiences something new, before his youth, zest, power and accuracy get to his rival.