Freddie can bowl 'em over

  • By: Derek Bilton
  • Last Updated: November 30 2012, 22:39 GMT

Our expert Derek Bilton is predicting wins for David Price and also Andrew Flintoff, as he makes his pro debut.

Flintoff: Fascinating clash with Dawson

In Liverpool this weekend David Price continues his fistic journey when he meets gnarled veteran Matt Skelton.

Price looked plain scary last time out as he battered Audley Harrison into submission in a mere 82 seconds at the Echo Arena.

Before that, 'Pricey' cut down Sam Sexton in four rounds and a fight before that he pole-axed the normally durable John McDermott inside a round.

There is no doubting then that Price carries some extreme power in those heavy hands of his and it will be interesting to see how the reigning British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion tackles 'Bedford Bear' Skelton, an immensely strong fighter but a fighter with all the finesse of a can of chopped tomatoes.

Matt has done OK as a pro given he didn't have much amateur experience (his background was martial arts). At various points in his career he has reigned as British, Commonwealth and European champion and in 2008 he boxed for the WBA world heavyweight title, losing a decision to Ruslan Chagaev in Germany.

However at 45 it is clear his glory years are behind him after after suffering six losses in a 34-fight career I would deem it a miracle if he upset Price, a former Olympic medallist, here.

The question is surely how will Price win this fight with the Scouse behemoth no bigger than 1/28 for the win.

Skelton has been around the block and once upon a time had a good chin and a knack of making opponents fight in the trenches. However he has never come across a fighter with the raw power that 'Pricey' possesses and my guess is once David finds his range it could be like shooting fish in a barrel.

With this in mind, Ladbrokes 5/6 quote about Price winning within the first four rounds looks decent enought.

Easily the most intriguing fight of Friday night though involves Andrew Flintoff, who makes his pro debut against American Richard Dawson at the MEN Arena.

Dawson has a 2-0 (1) record and the consensus among the cognoscenti is that he should know too much for a raw athlete like Flintoff, who given his chronic lack of amateur experience is going right off into the deep end in Manchester.

Flintoff was of course a world class all-rounder during his cricketing pomp, but summer days spent in the green and pleasant surroundings of Lord's, Headingley and Old Trafford are a world away from the hurt business.

'Freddie' insists he is up for the challenge and he has dropped some serious weight to get into shape for this one. He's had Barry McGuigan and his son Shane helping him get ready for his big day, which should definitely be worth a watch.

I won't profess to know a great deal about Dawson, but my hunch is they have brought him over to the UK for a reason. And that reason, most probably, is that he isn't very good.

Flintoff is 34 and so in terms of titles is going absolutely nowhere. However in a three-round slug-fest, roared on by a passionate home crowd, I can see him doing the business this weekend and am rather surprised to see odds-against quotes beside his name.

On Saturday night Tyson Fury, the one heavyweight on these shores who surely can give Price an argument, boxes Kevin 'Kingpin' Johnson in Belfast.

It's a decent fight that has been put together on fairly short notice with Irish Traveller Fury no bigger than 2/9 for the win.

Johnson has been around a while and is another fighter who has boxed for full world honours. in 2009 he boxed Vitali Klitschko for the WBC world title and while he took 'Dr Ironfist' the distance he didn't win many medals for bravery on the night.

Johnson came over here in the summer and was a favourite with the bookies to win heavyweight Prizefighter. However he went into his shell against Tor Hamer in the final and was forced to give best to his fellow American in that one.

If he has any ambition left at all it could be a long night for Fury, as Johnson possesses a world class jab and he uses it well.

My tip here is for Fury to sweep the early rounds and eventually force a stoppage win against Johnson, before beating the drum for Fury v Price in 2013.

Over in America on Saturday night, I fully expect Miguel Cotto to get back in the winners enclosure after his defeat to Floyd Mayweather, though 4/9 quotes about him beating the unbeaten, but limited, Austin Trout look bang on the money.

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