ECHO ARENA, LIVERPOOL - David Price (15-1) seeks redemption this weekend against his nemesis from earlier this year, Tony Thompson (37-3).
I suspect that I wasn't the only one to be surprised when Thompson caught Price with a clubbing right in the second round of their February bout. It wasn't the cleanest punch you'll ever see, but Price was wide open to it and there was little question of his being allowed to continue given the way that he crumpled to the canvas.
Price remains the favourite, albeit at a this time slightly larger 1.30 (Betfred, Ladbrokes). Thompson is widely available at 4.00 (Bet365, Boylesports) once again upsetting the odds and the draw is widely available at 41.00 (Skybet, Paddy Power).
It's certainly unusual to see a fighter knocked out in the second round of a contest being priced up as a short priced favourite in the re-match. That's not to say that it's an unreasonable position for the market to take.
Thompson didn't look in great condition coming into the February fight. The opening was relatively cagey, but Price appeared to be gaining the ascendency; opening up and beginning to catch Thompson with some solid shots. I'd all but written off my small investment on Price stopping Thompson between rounds 7 and 9, but clearly for different reasons from those that materialised.
Had it not been for Thompson catching Price clean (well cleanly enough), then I saw Price forcing the stoppage before the halfway point. That's not to say that it was a lucky punch from Thompson, or indeed that he may not have caught him at another point prior to Price getting to him. It was a solid shot thrown on the counter by Thompson and if Price continues to leave himself open to such shots, then he'll never be a force at world level.
Should Price turn the tables this weekend, and do so in decent style, then he should be in decent position to progress to a world title shot in due course. In fact, the February knockout may to an extent enhance his position in that it demonstrates that he potentially has a significant chink in his defensive armour/punch resistance.
Price appears to have left no stone unturned in his preparation for this fight, visiting Canada for 3 weeks for a training camp with Lennox Lewis after being contacted by Lewis. Lewis is not known as a coach, but commented on Price's lack of footwork and -some things that he's really supposed to know as a professional.”
It will be an interesting to see whether Franny Smith (his coach) remains in his corner for too much longer. Whilst he clearly can't be solely blamed for the loss in February, some of the comments made by Lewis are fairly scathing of Price's coaching as a pro to date.
Whilst it would be foolish to write off Thompson's chances, as I basically did in the first fight, I'm not convinced that he offers much value at 4.00. Similarly Price at 1.30 holds little appeal in light of the events first time round.
I was initially concerned about Thompson's failure to remove his t-shirt at the weigh-in on Friday. This is very unusual and would seem to point to a fighter being out of shape; however, Steve Bunce has gone on the record as saying that Thompson is in fantastic shape for the fight, so perhaps not too much should be read into this.
I think Price is justifiably a fairly heavy favourite on the basis that it was a single shot that put him down. I think a slightly more measured pressure this time around should see him punch out the victory.
The method of victory markets unsurprisingly expect a KO. Ladbrokes offer the best price of 1.50 on the Price KO victory, with Thompson widely available at 5.00 (Bet365, Boylesports). Price is quoted at 6.00 (Bet365, Stan James) to get the decision, whilst Stan James offer a stand out 26.00 against Thompson.
If you do fancy Thompson to do the job again, then it would seem worthwhile to take the additional point on offer by going with the KO. The same goes for Price.
This fight, more than some or even most, is one where I'd prefer to take a chance on the rounds. I see it being another shortish fight and can't rule out either man.
Skybet offer 1.80 about either winning within the first half, which certainly isn't without its attraction.
Betfred offer 4.50 against Price winning between rounds 4 and 6 which I think is worth investing in at small stakes. Price has generally been a reasonably cautious starter who once he starts upping the stakes does so at quite a pace.
I think that Thompson will have earned enough respect from the first fight to keep Price content to box behind the jab for the first 3 or 4 rounds, but a leopard doesn't change its spots and I think he'll open up at some point. It would be that this will again be the chance for Thompson to deliver another counter-punch KO, but with only 2.88 (Skybet) on offer against either fighter winning during the second quarter, the value looks to be in sticking with Price.
Price's fights have always delivered stunning knockouts, but I see him righting the wrong this weekend and adding Thompson to his highlight reel.
Nic Mimmack's bets on this fight:
1 point on Price to win between rounds 4 and 6 at 4.50 with Betfred