Price playing mind games

  • By: Simon Crawford
  • Last Updated: January 24 2014, 10:54 GMT

Our Simon Crawford believes heavyweight David Price will get back to winning ways at the weekend - and has a 3/1 shot for you.

David Price: Hoping mind games will pay off at the weekend
David Price: Hoping mind games will pay off at the weekend

Giant Liverpool heavyweight David Price looked to have the world at his feet at the start of last year.

The 30-year-old Olympic bronze medallist was 15-0 (13KOs) in the paid ranks and was the reigning British and Commonwealth with the very real prospect of being the man to finally dethrone the dominant Klitschko brothers.

But 6ft 8in Price was shockingly derailed twice by American veteran Tony Thompson who not only stopped him on both occasions, but did so in-front of the Scouser's adoring fans in Liverpool.

So crushing were the defeats for the British heavyweight that many speculated they could well have signalled the end of his career.

However, Price insisted the show must go on and he makes his return against Konstantin Airich in an eight-round contest on Saturday in the German city of Stuttgart.

But a lot of changes have taken place since that since his last outing in July.

Long-time manager Frank Maloney has retired and Price has teamed up with German-based promoters Sauerland.

There has also been a change in trainer with Adam Booth coming in for a short period before being replaced with the highly-respected Tommy Brooks.

That's a lot to take in your stride, especially after two unexpected losses, but perhaps most interestingly Price has been having sessions with sports psychologist Terry McElhinney.

"I've now started working with a mind coach, a sports psychologist type of person not long after the second Tony Thompson fight," said Price.

"Primarily, he helped pick me up off the floor and helped me lift myself up. Beyond that, we've been doing a lot of other stuff, which I wish I had known and I wish I had been taking seriously from my amateur days because it really helps your performance.

"I've got a top trainer on the team. I've got a top promotional outfit dealing with me. I'm not doing it by halves, I'm doing it properly because I've got every faith that I can still achieve what I've set out to achieve in the first place.

"Last year was a write-off and that's gone and now it's about looking forward and building. After Saturday night a lot of things will feel a lot different for me.

"The last two performances, they don't reflect me as a fighter and that's what I'm hoping to show on Saturday night."

Price will certainly have to live up to those words because any mistakes at the weekend would surely see him forced to hang up his gloves.

But in all honesty he should have little trouble in getting past 35-year-old German Airich (19-7-2 15KOs) who will be giving away seven inches in height and as much again in reach.

Airich, born in Astana, Kazakhstan, but now living in Hamburg, has lost his last three bouts including a first-round stoppage in just 44 seconds at the hands of Manuel Charr last time out in December which should give the Englishman every hope of making it an early night.

Price's biggest danger will be getting caught cold early as there is bound to be some anxiety after those two upsets against Thompson.

But once his confidence grows and he finds his range then I would expect the end to come quickly.

Despite the two defeats to Thompson, Price is very skilful, picks his shots nicely and possesses devastating power.

The outcome is a forgone conclusion according to the layers with the best you'll get on a Price win 1/10, with Airich easily backable at 13/2.

A Price knockout is a best of 2/9 (Boylesports), while a points win (17/2 Paddy Power) could have some appeal to those who think there could be ring rust and nerves.

However, I think Price will be simply too big, too strong and too good for Airich so I'm going to take the 3/1 being offered for the Liverpudlian to win in rounds 5-8 after a careful start.

  • Posted at 1050 GMT on 24/01/2014.


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