I haven't heard a f****** peep off any of them. You see who's real and who's not
IN February, leading heavyweight prospect David Price lost his unbeaten record when ageing American contender Tony Thompson stopped him in two rounds. The punch that did the damage, a shot behind the ear, was a peculiar one. The Liverpudlian wanted a rematch, and he wanted it quickly. He wanted to show the world it was a fluke.
He trained hard. Lennox Lewis came into camp and offered his assistance. And in July, Price got the return he wanted so badly. Thompson returned to the UK. In round two, Price looked on the brink of the spectacular when a huge shot decked the visitor. But something wasn't right. The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist was exhausted. By the fifth round, Thompson had won again. Price had been rescued by the referee, tired and helpless.
Tris Dixon speaks to Price to assess the devastation.
How are you holding up?
I’m fine now. Obviously I was really, really down and disappointed about it. Gutted. I put everything into it in training and something just wasn’t right on the night and, in hindsight, the week of the fight. When I did the public workout on the Monday I just didn’t feel myself. My energy levels – for whatever reason – weren’t right. And I was gutted. I’ve been trying to figure out what went wrong and why it went wrong and everything else. I’ve thought about it a lot and I went into a bit of a depression, which you do anyway. I was depressed a little bit. People can try to tell you it’s only a sport or it’s this and that but when you’ve put your heart and soul into something, like many fighters do, like I did, and it ends with disappointment, then it can drive you into a bit of a hole. But I had a week away with a few of my mates, I went to Vegas for a week, and it sorted my head out, really. I had a good time on holiday, relaxed a bit and forgot about it and I had a bit of time to reflect and think about things and I’ve come back feeling a lot better and a lot more positive. I’m a lot better now than I was a couple of weeks ago. Definitely.
So what happens now?
I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t know what’s going to happen in regards to where or when my next fight is going to be or whatever else. I don’t know.
But you’ve got the hunger to fight on?
F****** hell, yes. Of course I have. It makes me laugh when people say that – and I know they’re going to ask the question – but it makes me laugh that people even think I wouldn’t want to carry on fighting. I’m 30 years old. It’s still quite young for a heavyweight. Alright, I know I’m not a spring chicken but I’m 30 and I’ve achieved quite a bit already in my career and maybe I took the step up to fight a world-class fighter a bit too soon. And in hindsight it wasn’t the right opponent for me, Tony Thompson. No one else was interested in fighting him. Wladimir Klitschko said he had given him one of his hardest fights and because of the way things were going with me and I was knocking everyone out early, in the first fight everyone thought it would be a walk in the park and it proved otherwise. I think in the first fight I was just unlucky. Completely unlucky. Because if the second fight proved anything it proved that the punch in the first fight was a f****** freak. I took plenty of shots from Tony Thompson in the second fight and he didn’t come anywhere putting me on the floor or daze or wobble me. It was my own exhaustion that cost me the fight. I just wasn’t myself in there. Now it’s a matter of me thinking positively and taking positives from the whole experience of the two fights, moving on and using them to my advantage. But for anyone to suggest that I should pack it in… I am British and Commonwealth champion and the last thing I’m going to do is walk away without defending my titles. I’ve got one defence and I’ll have the Lonsdale Belt outright and I think, if you look at my career so far, I’m still inexperienced. I might have fought in big events like the Audley Harrison fight and the Tony Thompson fights and whatever else but if you look at how many rounds I’ve completed… I need rounds in the bank and it’s something that I haven’t had. It’s like being a victim of my own power, really. I know the last two fights ended early because I lost but I always knew I needed rounds and that’s something that needs to be addressed. I probably need a couple of good 10-rounders under my belt where someone is going to take me the distance. It’s just about rebuilding now. If you put it in terms of building, my career’s a wreck now, but it’s still got the foundations and the foundations are still solid and I can rebuild. It might take a little bit of time and I might have to accept that I’m going to be written off and whatever else but the foundations are there to rebuild on and I know I can do it. Without a doubt.
It’s not an unpopular suggestion, now, that you are being written off. In this day and age where people make snap decisions and rash comments, people thought the first loss was a fluke, this one means you’ve been written off.
To be honest, I don’t look at what people say on Twitter because that’s like self-torture. People are always going to do that and it could be anyone typing anything. I’ll listen to people who I think know. Of course I’m not going to shy away from any criticism but I don’t have to read everything about myself. I do know that people will be writing me off because I know how people are and I know what boxing fans are like. I’ve seen them do it with other fighters and they will definitely be doing it with me and not just boxing fans but pundits and writers. But that’s okay, because I know how it works. I know how it works exactly. You wouldn’t believe how many people I haven’t heard from after this fight. People I would normally hear from I haven’t heard a f****** peep off any of them. It’s a little bit disappointing but I find it funny. You see who is real and who’s not. They might feel a bit awkward but they only need to pick up the phone. I’m the same person I was before fight. Obviously I’ve had a bit of a hard time since but I’m okay now. I’m sound. I just haven’t been back in the gym or anything. I’ve had a good rest. I’ve had a complete break. I’ve had a couple of niggling injuries I wanted to heal up and I’ve started to get the hunger to get back in but I have to wait to see what’s happening with everything else, and the promotional situation.
For Price on Lennox Lewis and the future read PART TWO OF INTERVIEW