Being on the undercard is better than being nowhere at all; that’s what Eddie Chambers and David Price found last night. For Eddie, his 1 minute KO of Moses Matovu brought a realisation that his new physique and power aren’t for just show, while for Price, we saw that you can train anything but a chin.
There were plenty of detractors for the Matovu/Chambers fight. Social media warbled to phrases like “Joke fighter”, “Why is Chambers fighting a bum?” and “Eddie is finished”, but the authors didn’t understand a single thing about boxing. Moses Matovu is a tough, tough, man – with an admittedly poor record – who had only been stopped 3 times in nearly 50 fights prior to last night. The fact Moses was the 15th person approached to fight Eddie at the Copperbox only shows what a game guy he really is. What Eddie did to him was nothing short of a lesson for all of us boxing pundits – Sometimes a gulf in class is an awesome sight. Which it was. The speed Eddie is famous for is now coupled with a power he never seemed to have. It’s a heady mix, and one which all heavyweights will be taking note of now that Eddie is back in the saddle and heading back to the battle.
Over in Denmark the sabres rattled and the Sauerland brothers made a slick job of the event at the Blue Water in Dokken. David Price was going to ensure Tony Thompson was a series of bizarre flukes, and Ondrej Pala was lined up to show us Price is capable and, more importantly, back amongst the big boys. Pala is one of those fighters who has a record way beyond his actual skill; kept swimming around with the bottom feeders and occasionally providing a tick in a box for the likes of Dereck Chisora. He reminds me of Chisora in a lot of ways – wayward punching, slapping, and bull-like charges under the guards of taller opponents. It was one of his slapping left hands that made the first mark last night.
Price had obviously been working on his head movement in training because I saw him move it from one side to the other about four times last night. Apart from that, it was the same old Price – tall, lineal, only this time with a poorer jab for some weird reason. When Pala caught him in the first with a cuffing shot, Price headed straight for the floor and the sighs were audible – at least where I was. I feared the worst…again. But Dave got up, and gamely held onto Pala for a minute to sort his head out and see out the round.
The second round was tougher for Pala but Price didn’t seem to be hurting him, and his jab was just appalling. The turning point came in the corner before the start of the third. A voice said calmly “He’s finished. That’s all he had. When you jab at him, he comes in low so just unload that straight right downwards onto him.” And that’s exactly what Pala, then Price, did. Price hit Pala on the back of the head as he came in; which pressed the “down” button. When Pala got up and carried on it was clear he hadn’t fully recovered. A few seconds later Price lined up the jab and downward right (by now patented by Price and Sauerland ltd) and Pala moved upwards into that good strong right, which made his whole body twitch on the canvas. Job done.
Last night was a tale of the undercard in two ways – both men fighting well down the order in separate shows and, in truth, being well down the boxing queue compared to Pacquiao v Bradley. But the nub of last night was the knowledge – in pure technicolour – that to come back you need to improve, or face the fact: it’s just a matter of time……