by J. Walker
With most of the boxing world focused on his ascension to rank of heavyweight world champion in waiting, David Price’s career hit a speed bump today when he was knocked out by American veteran Tony “The Tiger” Thompson in the second round of their fight held at the Echo Arena in Price’s hometown of Liverpool, England.
The 6′ 5″ Thompson entered the ring to a mixture of silence and catcalls, and later heard the sound of some of those in attendance lustily booing the American national anthem, something the veteran heavyweight–whose last fight was a rematch loss to world champion Wladimir Klitschko–remarked upon after the fight.
The genial 6′ 8″ giant Price entered the arena to great fanfare and was serenaded by his adoring fans with the song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” a standard more often associated with the Liverpool soccer club.
Price, however, would feel very alone in the not too distant future.
The Liverpudlian looked very tight and overwrought in round one, while the southpaw Thompson gradually relaxed and found a more natural rhythm. The two men were a study in contrasts, with Price seeming too stiff and robotic in his movements when confronted by Thompson’s more loosey-goosey approach. Price was mechanical, while Thompson seemed to be gliding around the ring.
Price relaxed a bit as round two commenced, however, and hurt Thompson when he trapped the American in the corner and got off a flurry of hard shots. It seemed that Price’s victory was drawing near, that it was only a matter of moments before “The Tiger” would be laying on the canvas.
Thompson weathered the storm, however, and then, in the last minute of the round, he caught the Brit behind the ear with a glancing right hook. The shot didn’t appear to be of the devastating variety, but Price was hurt badly by it.
Price, his equilibrium momentarily gone, slowly crumpled to the canvas. He got up, but referee Steve Gray deemed the Brit in no shape to continue, and at 2:17 of round two, Thompson, as he had predicted before the fight, had emerged victorious with a TKO over the man often being touted as the replacement for the Klitschko brothers.
Thompson (37-3, 25 KOs) noted after the fight that being booed and hearing his nation’s anthem disrespected got him into a fighting mood.
“The crowd booed me — even my national anthem. And it electrified me,” said the winner, who many had suspected of merely showing up for a payday when he clocked in at a career high weight for the fight.
Thompson also said that he and his team “worked on running [Price] into shots” in training camp.
Price (15-1, 13 KOs) was understandably disconsolate as he sat in his now-silent hometown arena, his previously glittering heavyweight future now thrown into open question.
“It’s a setback, but it’s not the end of the world,” said the Brit, who had been set to challenge his youthful Anglo-Irish rival Tyson Fury should he have won this fight.
“Of course I’ll be back.”