By Cliff Rold
It all makes sense until the punch lands.
It’s a lesson many a boxer has learned. Sometimes, the punch lands and the wounded escape, regroup, and find victory. Sometimes, they have an “L” to learn from.
It’s a rare thing for a developing fighter in the latter category to elect to go right back at a man who just put them on their rear. Maybe in another time, when fighters were building their records with monthly (and more) fights.
That time was a long time ago.
David Price seemed to have things going his way for all but the wrong split second. Tony Thompson, despite showing up at his worst weight since 2004, left knowing the only Heavyweight who has been able to beat him since a four round decision in 2000 is Wladimir Klitschko.
Can Price right his ship? Can Thompson, despite again coming in heavy, keep himself in the thick of things?
Let’s go to the report cards.
Titles/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 259 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 252.15 lbs.
Hails from: Washington, DC
Record: 37-3, 25 KO, 2 KOBY
Rankings: #6 (BoxingScene), #8 (TBRB, BoxRec), #9 (RingTV), #10 (ESPN)
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-2, 2 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Wladimir Klitschko KO by 11, TKO by 6)
Title/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 250 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 247.1 lbs.
Hails from: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Record: 15-1, 13 KO, 1 KOBY
Pre-Fight: Speed – Thompson B-; Price B
Pre-Fight: Power – Thompson B; Price B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Thompson B; Price B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Thompson B+; Price C
Maybe he was just suckering Price in, but Thompson looked like a slowed man last time out. The extra weight, and the age, is a reasonable explanation. Never a speed demon, Thompson still maintains his timing early and will be dangerous again. As a southpaw, his right hook comes in on a bad spot for Price. If Price doesn’t correct for it, he could be in big trouble again.
Then again, if Price has watched the tape from their first fight, he knows the shot he was caught with may have been more a circumstance than a career issue. Thompson got him into position and cuffed him with a left before landing a right Price never saw coming. It was a bit of a hold and hit moment and even more a blind blast. Those can get anyone. Price has to get his left up and take away Thompson’s right.
He has to fight the sort of tall, cautious, patient fight Wladimir Klitschko used against Thompson both times. It’s easier said then done. Price rocked Thompson in the second round before being put down. He went after him and stayed in aggressive mode. He’s better off pecking, poking, and finding a way to win.
For now, all we know is Price couldn’t take his first hard shot. His intangibles may well be higher but his competition has been properly contained to now. He’s big, has decent speed, and can crack (at least against the men he’s beat so far), but that’s only part of the package. Saturday, we find out if he has the mental strength to solve his first career riddle.
Thompson again appears to be in less than his best shape. In the first fight, he landed a bomb anyways. It’s hard to bet he does it twice. Price should be expected to fight with much greater care. If he takes away his mistake in the first fight, he can find a way to win. His people must really believe in him to go back right away like this.
This corner leans the same way, at least in this fight. Price boxes safe, pot shots, and waits for Thompson to run out of gas before settling in for a decision win.
Report Card Picks 2013: 28-15
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transanational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com