There will be a ton of beef in the ring on Saturday at Echo Arena in Liverpool when undefeated David Price (15-0, 13 KO) takes on veteran Tony Thompson (36-3, 24 KO). Expect close to 500 pounds of combined weight to clash for a shot at positioning in the heavyweight rankings.
Here's how you can watch, and some deeper analysis into the fighters and this matchup:
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Echo Arena in Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
The Book on Price
True Contender or Over-Protected Contender?
Any time an impressive, young heavyweight is in action, the boxing world takes notice.
If it's not just because the division is still one magnetic star away from taking over the sport again, it's because fans are hungry to see someone capable of challenging the Klitschko brothers (Wladimir and Vitali).
Perhaps at least one-half of those desires could describe David Price.
The 6'8", 29-year-old from Liverpool, Merseyside in the United Kingdom is 15-0 with 13 KOs. He has undeniable talent, but not many would describe his personality as magnetic. To say he has been brought along slowly is an understatement.
He has ravaged almost every British heavyweight contender, and he's finally set to fight someone from the United States. Thompson, a Washington, D.C. native, doesn't represent elite competition by any stretch, but it is at least a new challenge.
If Price is victorious, it will keep him on track to possibly face a Klitschko within a year or so.
In the Ring
First and foremost, he's huge.
He isn't overly bulky, in fact, he's a solid and lean athlete. However, don't take that to mean he doesn't have substantial power. Price can bang with anyone, and the pop on his punches is even more deadly considering he has an 82" reach.
He really is a spectacular prospect, and that concept is supported by ESPN's Dan Rafael calling Price the Prospect of the Year in December 2012.
His combination of size, power and athleticism is impressive.
Take into consideration his Olympic boxing experience (bronze medal in 2008 in Beijing), and his unblemished professional record, and it is clear to see Price is the most serious threat to knock the Klitschkos from their perch.
Here is a highlight reel of Price in action:
The Book on Thompson
Is Thompson Sincerely Plugged In?
Thompson once gave Wladimir Klitschko a mildly challenging fight, but in the rematch he looked like a man in need of a career change.
He virtually quit in the ring, and despite being admonished by his corner man, Thompson never gave much of an effort.
He really should have tried harder. After all, he got knocked out in the sixth round anyway.
It is hard to think that the 41-year-old will deliver a more spirited effort in this one, but I hope he proves me wrong for the sake of entertainment.
In the Ring
Thompson has good power—as most 245-pound heavyweights do—and he's also a southpaw. Both traits could present an issue for Price.
Before being embarrassed by Klitschko in July 2012, he had won five straight fights, and all of the wins came by TKO/KO. None of those opponents were as talented as Price, though.
Here is a highlight of Thompson dominating an over-matched Maurice Harris:
Thompson can only hope his experience and southpaw stance can befuddle the younger, bigger and more talented Price.
Good luck with that.
Title Bout Championship Boxing Prediction
I used Out of the Park Development's Title Bout Championship Boxing 2 to simulate the fight. I wanted to get a solid number of simulated results for the fight with several factors included in the data for the simulation.
The text-sim based game takes data from BoxRec.com, but it also allows you to input whether a fighter is a hometown favorite (as Price will be in this fight), the championship status and where each fighter is in their career (pre-prime, prime, post-prime, just looking for a pay check, etc.).
I placed Price's career settings as: in prime, and his conditioning as excellent (based on the reports of his training regimen, per this article from Boxing Scene.
For Thompson, I wavered a bit, because aside from his terrible showing against Klitschko, the previous five fights were perhaps the best stretch of his career. In the end, I settled on post-prime as a career setting.
He is 41 years old, and despite the decent run before the Klitschko bout, the quality of his performances from here on out aren't likely to be the best of his career.
With those settings, Price won eight of 10 simulations, but he only stopped Thompson in three of them. Thompson actually won a majority decision in one bout, and a unanimous decision in another.
Even with those two rare wins, it seems obvious who the simulation favors. Rarely will we see two fighters of even marginally similar talents fight 10 times without each man coming out on top at least once.
Here is a breakdown of the results:
Will Thompson go the distance with Price?
I agree with TBCB's prominent prediction, but I don't see a scenario where Thompson makes it 12 rounds with Price. If he does, Price's status as possibly the next big thing in the heavyweight division will be in serious jeopardy.
This is a fight that should serve as a showcase for him, and stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Price will stop Thompson in the fifth round.