Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Was KO Loss To Teper A Career Ender For Price?

The emergence of prospect David Price as a potential player in Boxing’s Heavyweight division one might argue was rapid. Price emerged as a potential contender beginning with his first round knockout win over John McDermott for the English Heavyweight championship in January 2012. Price was followed that victory by winning the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight championships with a fourth round knockout of Sam Sexton in May 2012.

Subsequent victories over former world title challenger Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton later that year elevated Price into a bout with longtime top contender Tony Thompson in February 2013. Prior to this fight against Thompson, this observer stated that Price could be one of the fighters if not the fighter who may take over the Heavyweight division in the post-Klitschko era.

In making that statement however, I also questioned whether or not it was too much, too soon for Price, who entered the fight with a record of 15-0, with 13 Knockouts. It indeed proved to be too much as Thompson would stop Price in the second round. Despite suffering the first loss of his career and the first knockout as well at the hands of a top contender who was coming off of a failed attempt to win a world championship, Price opted to face Thompson again in July of that year in an immediate rematch.

Although Price would have periods of success in the rematch including dropping Thompson in the second round, the result would be the same as the first encounter. Thompson stopping Price, this time in five rounds. Following the rematch, I stated that it can be a delicate task for those handling a fighter to determine when that fighter should step up in quality of opposition.

It was clear after those two fights that although Price had succeeded on the British and Commonwealth level of the sport, he was not ready to step up against a fighter the caliber of Tony Thompson. After his second loss to Thompson, Price began a rebuilding process winning four fights winning three of those bouts by knockout. Price would carry that four fight winning streak into the ring on July 17th in Ludwigsburg, Germany to do battle with undefeated Heavyweight prospect Erkan Teper for the vacant European Heavyweight championship.

Teper entered into the fight with Price with a record of 14-0, with 9 Knockouts. In some ways Teper’s position entering this fight was not all that unlike the position that Price found himself in when he fought Tony Thompson for the first time. An unbeaten prospect who could potentially become a contender if he is successful in stepping up the level of his opposition. In contrast to Teper, Price was looking to continue building momentum following two devastating knockout losses.

Although Teper was not stepping in against a fighter who was coming off challenging for a world championship as was the case when Price fought Thompson, this should have been looked at as a test for Teper. After all, David Price is a former British and Commonwealth champion and despite suffering those setbacks, did enter into the fight with a record of 19-2, with 16 Knockouts, registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 74%.

Teper however, would show on that evening that he was ready for the test. Teper immediately began to walk Price down from the outset and established his power by landing a flush right hand on Price in the early going. Although Price attempted to return offense, he was unable to establish distance between himself and Teper, who dictated how the fight was fought and who was the more physical of the two fighters.

The fight would be brought to a sudden end the second round when Teper landed a flush left hook to the head of Price sending him down and out on the canvas. The bout was immediately stopped by Referee Massimo Barrovecchio at 2:40 of the round.

It was as sudden and devastating a knockout as you could see not just in the Heavyweight division, but in the entire sport. Although this observer was slightly critical of Referee Massimo Barrovecchio’s decision to allow the recent fight between Alexander Povetkin and Mike Perez to continue following the first knockdown of the contest when Perez looked to be in no condition to continue despite being able to get up from the knockdown only to suffer a second knockdown that many believe was unnecessary, Barrovecchio made the right decision in this fight to immediately wave an end to the bout rather than counting Price out.

Even though Erkan Teper has established himself as a potential player in the Heavyweight division off of this victory, the most important question in this observer’s mind is whether or not this knockout may signal the end of David Price’s career. It is important to remember that Price has been knocked out in each of his three losses and more importantly each knockout was devastating in the manner they occurred.

Although Boxing history is filled with stories of fighters who suffered knockout losses early in their careers only to overcome those setbacks and go on to win world championships, one has to wonder what the accumulative effect these knockout losses will have on Price from both a physical and psychological standpoint. Price was a fighter, who not long ago seemed as if he may be destined for stardom in the sport. This observer believes however, that he was pushed too quickly into fights against Tony Thompson that if he were successful would have likely resulted in a world ranking in one of the sport’s major sanctioning organizations. The two losses to Thompson however, may have started a decline in Price.

Even though Price was able to rebound from those losses and score four victories in a relatively short period of time against relatively unknown opposition, I believe that it is a strong possibility that Price may not have fully recovered from the losses he suffered at the hands of Thompson. Although it is unclear as of this writing as to what David Price will do next, if he does not intend to retire it will be interesting to see if he will take an extended hiatus to allow himself time to regroup. This observer believes after this knockout if Price is not considering retirement, an extended hiatus may be appropriate.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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