By Jake Donovan
Amir Mansour enjoyed a long overdue breakout performance, stopping Kelvin Price after seven rounds of one-sided action Saturday evening at the Resorts International Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The early action suggested the type of heavyweight fight that fans have grown to fall out of love with, as both fighters were a bit slow and clumsy coming out of the gate. Plenty of punches were thrown, but it took a few rounds before both fighters adjusted their sights.
Once they did, the fun truly began.
Price showed heart and guile, and also a few moments of own when able to go on the offensive. Mansour was determined to make it a war, but got caught with enough meaningful shots to know the fight wasn't going to be a walk in the park.
The first hints of a brutal knockout surfaced in round three, when Price was repeatedly tagged and all but out on his feet. The 6'8" heavyweight and former college basketball standout somehow gathered his composure and not only made it out of the round, but was competitive in a free-swinging fourth.
The only problem: Mansour seemed to enjoy it a bit too much.
"He's so tall. I got so many different styles that I can make it rough and rugged. These guys aren't built like that anymore," Mansour insisted after the fight.
Things eventually grew rough and rugged for Price, who was down on the canvas in round five. How he miraculously peeled himself off the deck and fought back is anyone's guess, though a testament to his overall toughness.
Rather than scoring the early knockout to which he's grown accustomed, the 41-year old Mansour simply treated his opponent like a stubborn tree that required several hundred whacks before eventually falling down.
Plenty of whacks were landed on Price's core, sending him down hard once again in round seven. The Pensacola (FL) native once again made it up and out of the round, but it was decided by his corner that he wouldn't be coming back out for the 8th round.
The official time was 3:00 of round seven.
Mansour improves to 20-0 (15KO) and with each passing fight continues to prove that life can truly begin at 40.
Imprisoned on various charges for more than 16 years - nearly half of his life - the well-seasoned heavyweight has his sights on bigger targets.
Price falls to 14-2 (14KO), with both of his losses coming exactly 52 weeks away. The Pensacola (FL) native suffered a 3rd round stoppage to Deontay Wilder this time last year.
THOMPSON OUTBOXES COYNE
Buffalo (NY)-based light heavyweight Lionell Thompson continues on the comeback trail, picking up the biggest win of his career on Saturday evening with a 10-round decision over Ryan Coyne.
Scores were 99-90 (3x) in their co-feature battle.
Thompson was too slick, too active and too accurate for Coyne, who came into the bout on the heels of the lone loss of his career. A cut above Coyne's left eye opened up midway during the fight and added to his problems.
Despite the landslide win, Thompson was his own worst critic when asked to assess his performance.
"It was alright, but I wish I would have pressed the action more," said Thompson, who improves to 15-2 (9KO) with his third straight win. "I wanted the knockout. I'll take the win but we still have things to work on in the gym."
The bout marked the second consecutive defeat for St. Louis' Coyne, who falls to 21-2 (9KO). His previous loss came to Marcus Oliveira, who dropped a decision to Jurgen Braehmer in their vacant title fight earlier Saturday in Germany.
Both of Thompson's defeats came in back-to-back fights in 2012, including a three-round blitzing at the hands of Sergey Kovalev last September. Kovalev has obviously gone on to greener pasteurs, enjoying a Fighter of the Year-level campaign in 2013.
Thompson has a long way to go before arriving on that stage, but warrants consideration when recapping the year's best comebacks.
Former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham (26-6, 12KOs) continues his run at heavyweight with an eight round unanimous decision over Manuel Quezada (29-8, 18KOs). All three judges had it 80-72.
Darnell “The Ding-A-Ling-Man” Wilson (25-17-3, 20 KOs) still has some fire, and some power, left in his body, as he scored an upset sixth round knockout over previously undefeated heavyweight banger David Rodriguez (36-1, 34 KOs). Wilson caught Rodriguez at the end of the round and knocked him out. Rodriguez had recently signed a promotional contract with Main Events, but one has to wonder if the boxer will ever be the same after this stunning knockout.
Middleweights Trent Laidler and Vincent Floyd made their pro debuts, fighting to a four round split draw with scores of 38-37 for Floyd and two cards of 38-38.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox