When David Price walks out at the Liverpool Echo arena to face Tony Thompson in their rematch, he will have only one thing on his mind – revenge. At a press conference in Liverpool’s Radisson Blu Hotel today, a defiant Price along with trainer Franny Smith and promoter Frank Maloney spoke about the rematch and his recent training visit to Canada and link up with heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis.
Maloney started the proceedings by telling the gathered boxing press that he believes that the fight on July 6th is one of the biggest fights in Britain this year. Maloney explained that there is a lot on the line for both fighters, as questions still remain over Price following the surprise knockout he suffered in the first fight with the veteran American, whilst Thompson is putting his world ranking on the line. Maloney then handed the rostrum over to Price’s trainer Franny Smith who told those present at the conference about their time in Canada, “It was a privilege to work with the legend that is Lennox Lewis, and initially it was interesting to see what Lennox was about and how he worked. We discussed the first fight and also about the direction of David’s career. The most impressive thing about Lennox Lewis and Courtney Shand (Lewis’ conditioning coach) was their professionalism and that can only benefit David and his career.
Price went on to describe how the trip was a great opportunity for him and that when he first heard about it he didn’t have to think twice about it “This has taken my training to a whole new level, I got to see how the best of the best do it. When I was doing the bags I had three people watching me, which is a new experience for me and when I did something wrong they were quick to point out where I went wrong. I spoke to Lennox about his career and how he avenged his defeats. I’ve learned so much from him that for this fight and I don’t think I’ll even be able to put 25% of what I’ve learned into practice for this fight. I genuinely believe I have the beating of Tony Thompson and on July 6th I will redeem myself”
Price was in reflective mood and he explained that the defeat could just be the best thing to happen to him ‘I thought that all I needed to do was just turn up and knock my opponent out, which can be done at domestic level , but you can’t do it at world level. I’d heard the rumours about him (Thompson) having to put icepacks on his knees after roadwork and then when he weighed in at his heaviest ever I thought the fight was won. After the first fight I had a week off and went back to the gym, not to get in shape but more to preoccupy my mind. I’m excited about the fight and even though it’s a make a break or fight for me, I don’t feel the pressure. When I win I know I’ll be right back in the mix”
Maloney also explained how Price was the one pressing for the rematch “I thought we can go another route, people will forget this, and I’m a promoter I know how people think. So I thought we could go another route knock someone else out and people will forget the Tony Thompson fight. Tony Thompson will always be there so we can pick him up any time, but David came to me and said ‘but Frank, if someone beats him before I get to him I won’t get the credit I deserve. I want this rematch’ so my instructions were to go and get the rematch, and I went out and done it.
One of the things that many critics feel was Price’s undoing was his lack of patience in the first fight and I asked Frank Maloney if he believed that was one of the things that David Price could learn from Lennox Lewis. “I believe that if 25% of what Lennox Lewis knows has rubbed off on David Price we could have a very good fighter, David Price is one of the best punchers in the heavyweight division, he’s like a heavyweight Tommy Hearns. He’ll either knock you out or get caught like he unfortunately did in his last fight. He was a bit kamikaze before this; this loss might just tighten up his defence. It’s something I’ve spoken to Franny about before. There’s no better fighter to learn it from than Lennox Lewis he was a defensive master and a very cautious fighter, he wouldn’t knock you out until he was ready.”
From his time spent with the best heavyweight of the last thirty years, a new David Price may emerge, one who understands that boxing can be a chess match and that he doesn’t need to blow his opponent out in the early rounds and that he can afford to be patient. If David has learned from his first match there’s no reason he can’t defeat Thompson this time out and get his career back on track.
David Price v Tony Thompson II is on Boxnation (Channel 437 Sky and Channel 546 Virgin) in the UK and tickets are available from www.frankmaloney.com with prices ranging from £35 -£180