By Cliff Rold
41-year old Tony Thompson (38-3, 26 KO) of Washington, DC, proved once again that he doesn’t know how to lose to a Heavyweight without the initials W.K. on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom, coming off the floor in the second round to outlast and stop 29-year old David Price (15-2, 13 KO) for the second straight fight in front of Price’s hometown fans.
Price was stopped in two the first time around but lasted until the fifth this time around and had his chances to win.
Thompson came into the contest at 259, Price at 250 and the two giants put on a show worthy of what fans hope to see in the Heavyweight class in a year that has produced a fair share of solid action contests in the flagship division of the sport.
Thompson started with a hard southpaw right jab to the body and stayed with the punch while Price jabbed and stayed tall. As the opening stanza progressed, both men showed respect, Price more aggressive with his right hand while a patient Thompson looked for openings. The round ended with Price going to the ropes and covering up against a toying Thompson combination.
Both men landed some significant leather in the second, the fateful round of their first clash for Price. This time it was Thompson taking the worst of it, but not before Price weathered a buzzing as well. Price opened the frame with a stiff combination. Letting fly, Thompson would force Price to hold after a hard uppercut, and again during an exchange at close quarters. Price answered with a massive right, Thompson holding before being grappled to the deck. Moments later, another right had Thompson down near the ropes and barely able to beat the count.
But beat it he did, surviving to make it to the corner with a minute to recover.
Price again landed the better stuff in a ferocious third round but Thompson would not fall. As the seconds ticked by, Price could be seen tiring a bit but his quicker shots were beating Thompson to the mark just soon enough to avoid the bombs coming back for most of the round. That changed in the waning seconds as Thompson landed a short left and Price fell forward, wobbled, into a clinch.
Increasingly exhausted, the fight took a dramatic turn in the fourth as Thompson methodically came on. In the final thirty seconds, a left to the body brought a cringe to Price and Thompson set to pounding the rubber legged giant.
Price started the fifth in a defensive posture and Thompson kept him there, calmly walking him down and busting him with big shots. Price, trapped in the corner and nearly leaning out of the ring, absorbed a brutal barrage, eating a stream of lefts and rights to the head until the referee stepped in to deliver a standing eight count.
Price, dog tired and unable to go on, left no choice but a stoppage after a hard look, the fight waved off at 1:55 of round five.
Thompson entered the bout rated #8 by the IBF and #14 by the WBO, both titles currently held by the only man to defeat him in the last thirteen years: World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko. Price, stopped in consecutive fights, goes back to the drawing board. Assuming he continues with his career, a rebuilding process seems his likely future though chin and stamina issues make Heavyweight rough terrain.
Prior to the main event, fans were treated to a clash of undefeated Flyweights and a verdict worthy of debate.
24-year old Kevin Satchell (11-0, 2 KO), 111 ½, of Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom, came off the floor to earn a unanimous decision over twelve rounds versus 21-year old Iain Butcher (8-1, 2 KO), 111, of Jerviston, Motherwell, Scotland. Butcher got out to an early lead, dropping Satchell hard in the second round and seeming to dictate the pace for large stretches but the judges ultimately favored the work rate of Satchell. Scores came in at 115-113 twice and 115-114 for Satchell while Butcher shook his head in frustration.
The card was televised in the U.S. on Wealth TV and WealthTV.com as part of its “Fight Night” series, promoted by Frank Maloney.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]