David Price: ‘The glory had gone in my career’

David Price: ‘The glory had gone in my career’

The Olympic medallist and former British champion announces he will not fight again. Elliot Worsell on David Price’s career

THOUGH not yet official, Liverpool heavyweight David Price has revealed he has no intention of boxing again, thus calling time on a 12-and-a-half-year, 32-fight professional career.

The 38-year-old former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion has been conspicuous by his absence since being stopped by Dereck Chisora in October 2019 and it was previously unclear whether he would at some point try to rebuild again.

Being a relatively big name at heavyweight, there will of course always be fights available, yet Price, in signalling his exit, suggests he has no desire filling the role of ‘opponent’ for the next generation.

“Well I haven’t officially announced that I’ve retired, but I have,” Price told BT Sport. “I’m not going to be fighting again. You won’t see me in a boxing ring again, for a fight at least.

“Only officially made up in my mind about six weeks ago.”

A sensible, intelligent man, Price was always likely to weigh up his options and get things right in his head before making a decision one way or the other. As it turned out, two years of inactivity provided both thinking time and all the incentive he required to take action.

“A few factors came into it,” Price said. “I obviously haven’t fought for two years, so am totally inactive. Also, at 38, the hunger was no longer there. That’s massive. Elite fighters like Tyson [Fury], Canelo [Alvarez] and AJ [Anthony Joshua] have got as much money as they will ever need, but that hunger is still there. That’s because they are fighting for glory. The glory had gone in my career.”

When turning pro back in March 2009, Price had both hunger in his belly and glory in mind. He had just won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games and his pro debut, a stunning first-round knockout of Dave Ingleby, earmarked Price as not only one to watch but highlighted, in quite devastating fashion, the raw punch power he possessed in his right hand.

In 2012, he won the English heavyweight title with another first-round knockout, this time against John McDermott, and in his subsequent fight he claimed British and Commonwealth titles when stopping Sam Sexton inside four rounds.

At six-foot-seven and 18-stone, Price seemed an intimidating, dominant force, especially on the domestic scene, and this belief was then only solidified when Price cut through Audley Harrison in one round and Matt Skelton in two.

If, however, 2012 turned out to be a fruitful year, the complete opposite could be said of 2013, the year in which Price crossed paths with American Tony Thompson. The pair met for the first time in February of that year and, although a risk, the decision to fight Thompson was considered a calculated one and offered Price the chance to spread his wings beyond the domestic scene. Alas, as is often the case in boxing, things didn’t go as planned, with Price halted inside two rounds by Thompson in what was his first pro loss.

After that, Price had a decision to make: fight Thompson again in the hope of revenge or swallow his pride and go a different route. With his career riding on it, he and then-promoter Frank [now Kellie] Maloney chose the former, banking everything on the first fight being a blip and a mistake he could rectify if given a second chance, and this, sadly, proved another misstep.

While a longer fight than their first encounter, Price was again stopped by Thompson, this time inside five rounds, and any talk of him becoming a future world heavyweight champion seemed to die there and then.

Still, never one to give up, Price continued on and bravely rebuilt his career. Fighting mostly overseas in Germany, he won four fights in a row before losing a scandalous European heavyweight title fight in 2015 against drug cheat Erkan Teper (a bitter pill to swallow, particularly considering Thompson also tested positive for illegal substance). He tried to rebound again, winning two knock-overs before Price lost against Christian Hammer in February 2017, when once again he ran out of steam and was stopped in seven.

In the final phase of his career, there were two performances that stood out and acted as reminders of the potential and talent Price possessed. The first was an admirable effort against Alexander Povetkin in Wales in 2018, which saw Price badly hurt the Russian and come painfully close to scoring a shock upset win inside a packed-out Principality Stadium. The second, meanwhile, was the boxing lesson Price dished out to popular Doncaster heavyweight Dave Allen in 2019, which came as a surprise to many and highlighted both Price’s technical proficiency and his ability to control a smaller, less experienced man.

In the end, though he may have fallen short in his quest to become heavyweight champion of the world, it is fair to say David Price, 25-6 (20), brought plenty of drama to the ring, both in victory and defeat, and will be remembered as an eminently watchable fighter. Never in a dull fight, and always a danger, if Price stands as an example of a gentle giant too gentle to thrive at the top end of the heavyweight division, so be it. There is no shame in that. He won’t be remembered as a great heavyweight, no, but he will certainly be remembered as a great ambassador for the sport and a fine human being.

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