By Frank Warren
Tonight Scouse heavyweight sensation David Price gets a gilt edged chance to cement his worth as a legitimate world title challenger in 2013 when he squares up to seasoned US contender Tony Thompson at Liverpool's superb Echo Arena. It's effectively an unofficial world title eliminator and BoxNation are transmitting the whole bill, which also includes two very competitive British title fights – live from 7p.m.
Two time world title challenger Thompson – a southpaw from Washington D.C has lost just three of 39 – and has been in twice with Wladimir Klitschko, he was stopped in six rounds in a mandatory world title crack in Switzerland last July and prior to that went 11 rounds. 'Big Pricey' will be aware that if he can deliver a cleaner, quicker job than the dominant Ukrainian it will send a message around the fistic universe.
There is so much to admire about the unbeaten 29 year old Liverpudlian who last year amassed the English, British and Commonwealth belts whilst crushing his four 2012 opponents in just eight rounds combined.
I have to concede that Pricey has performed far better as a pro than I envisaged he would following a rather lame loss to Italian Roberto Cammarelle in the semi-final of the 2008 Olympics. However, since dispensing with the head guard and vest, the big fella has developed a physical and mental toughness.
At 6ft 8in tall and a chiselled 18 stone, David certainly has the physical hardware needed to contend on the highest stage and with 13 of his 15 victims failing to hear the final bell, he clearly carries hellacious power. Beyond the ropes, he is humble, articulate and clearly dedicated to mastering his craft; everything you'd want in a top heavyweight prospect.
The experienced Thompson is certainly a level above anything Price has encountered in the past. It's a proper test but, of course, anything can happen when the sport's giants collide. Still, Price should have far too much and I expect him to win comfortably. However, it's the manner in which victory is achieved that is paramount at this delicate stage of his development. A conclusive stoppage win would make a huge statement.
Nevertheless, this misguided concept that Price needs to conquer US opposition to advance up the world ratings is seriously flawed. In this millennium the heavyweight power base has clearly shifted to Europe with fighters groomed in the old Eastern Bloc amateur system – such as the Brothers Klitschko and Alex Povetkin - dominating the major world titles.
Despite the current proliferation of belts, our star spangled cousins – who once held a monopoly on sports greatest prize - haven't held any of the meaningful belts for six years now and there isn't a single US prospect worth mentioning who might break that drought.
In comparison, our current domestic crop, fronted by David Haye, Price, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora would wipe the floor with anything from across 'The Pond'. If Price is serious about expanding his profile and earning some serious corn he'd be far better served scouring closer to home.
The fight all Britain craves is the Merseyside giant against unbeaten Mancunian Tyson Fury, a man rated above both Price and Thompson by the WBC and IBF. For that juggernaut collision, you could forget The Echo Arena or the Manchester Arena; as it would fill any soccer stadium in the land beyond bursting point.
However, despite some rather bold rants on Twitter, Born Again believer Fury has twice bailed out from Boxing Board mandated title clashes with Price; citing that he is following an alternative agenda.
On March 12th, a contrite and fully rehabilitated Dereck Chisora appears before the Board seeking to have his British licence restored following his well-chronicled misbehaviour in Munich over a year ago.
Provided his application is successful, 'Del Boy' will return on my massive Wembley Arena promotion – which also features Ricky Burns, Nathan Cleverly and George Groves – on March 16th. Victory there should catapult Del Boy back into the world ratings where he clearly belongs.
The charismatic Chisora, who is still young, very ambitious and a proper gladiator too, could then provide Price with his first real test in a readymade stadium fight that would really grip British fight fans this summer.
Rising Cincinnati star Adrien Broner made predictably short shrift of Welshman Gavin Rees last weekend, retaining his WBC belt in five very one-sided rounds in Atlantic City.
Once again, the 23 year old Yank, known as 'The Problem', revealed himself as an exciting talent and you couldn't help but be impressed with his blistering combination punching.
But despite his dominance, Broner can be hit as the light-hitting Rees showed and I'm intrigued as to how he'll react when someone physically stronger puts it on him. I believe my WBO king Ricky Burns will be the man to pose the questions later this year.
However, first the Scot must negotiate a really tough unification spat with Mexico's IBF king Miguel Vasquez. Now there's a competitive fight for you.
A big surprise this week was Floyd Mayweather's move from HBO across the street to rivals Showtime.
The move was compared to Mike Tyson's jump from HBO to Showtime in 1990 which put Showtime on the boxing map. "Money" has made plenty of green for HBO after spending almost his entire career with the TV giant, generating 9.6m PPV buys and $543m in revenue with blockbuster fights against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz and Shane Mosley.
Mayweather's six-fight, multi-million dollar deal with Showtime PPV starts on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with his WBC World Welterweight title defence against Robert Guerrero.
Manny Pacquiao made a similar move in 2011 to fight Shane Mosley on Showtime, but it was for one fight only and he returned to HBO for his next outing.
Manchester United fanatic Matthew Hall is so focused on his fight against British and Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders next month that he has given up his ticket for his team's crucial second-leg clash against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.
Matthew, named after the great Matt Busby, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Red Devils and was also due to travel to the Bernabéu to watch the first-leg where Man U got a draw, but he surrendered his ticket for that on as well as he had a sparring session lined up.