THE undercard for the big Whyte-Rivas show is packed with several intriguing fights, chief among them the heavyweight clash between David Price and Dave Allen. This 12-rounder brings together two men going in different directions, career-wise, but should provide plenty of entertainment whoever wins.
Ex-British and Commonwealth king Price is a former outstanding amateur – a 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, no less – whose pro career began brightly before fading with a string of crushing inside the distance losses. Some were down to opponents being doped-up and some down to his alarming propensity to run out of energy, not helped by his unusually large frame (6ft 8ins, 18st).
Allen’s career has progressed the opposite way around. He turned pro solely to earn some money and campaigned for several years as a journeyman, relying on his innate physical toughness and fighting spirit. But he gradually became more serious about the sport, working harder in training and showing that there are some fine skills to go with his funny-man persona.
Hooking up recently with former IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker as his coach seems to be working well for him.
Now, at the age of 27, the man from Doncaster has won his last four in a row to reach 17-4-2 (14). That run began with a four-round chinning of unbeaten Nick Webb and culminated three months ago with a one-punch (left hook), body-shot knockout of Aussie contender Lucas Browne.
Liverpool’s Price is 24-6, with 19 early wins attesting to his power – but his weakness being shown by all his losses coming inside the distance. All were against good opponents, but Price took some heavy blows in losing to a pair of drug cheats Tony Thompson (rsf 2 & rsf 5) and Erkan Teper (ko 2), followed by Christian Hammer (rsf 7), Alexander Povetkin (ko 5) and Sergey Kuzmin (rtd 4).
At 36 he carries a lot of wear and tear into Saturday’s fight.
“Pricey” has won his last two, overcoming an unbeaten in Kash Ali last time out – but that fifth-round disqualification victory came when Ali was slung out for biting the Scouser’s chest in a clinch that saw both end up on the floor. His biggest wins go all the way back to 2012, when he was beating the likes of John McDermott (ko 1), Sam Sexton (ko 4) and Audley Harrison (rsf 1).
Price recognises he is the underdog in this one and admits it’s the biggest fight of his career because oblivion beckons if he loses. But he adds, “This is a very winnable fight. In terms of quality Allen is not a big risk. He’s not world level, although he was good in his last fight. Style-wise, he’s right up my street.”
Presumably, the Liverpudlian will try to use his bulk to wear out Allen, who has slimmed down recently (he has weighed as high as 270lbs but was down to 244 for the Browne fight). But the Yorkshireman has shown a sound chin, lasting the distance with top contender Dillian Whyte, as well as Lenroy Thomas in a Commonwealth title fight; plus the two bouts he did lose inside the limit were no disgraces either, as he made it into the seventh against big puncher Luis Ortiz of Cuba and into the 10th against France’s 2016 Olympic champion Tony Yoka.
Said Allen, “It’s going to be a very exciting fight and one of us is going to get knocked out. There are many things Price does better than me, but I will get to him and knock him out. Only six months ago I was a different man, but now I’m fit and younger, fresher, hungrier. I want what’s there for the winner, which will be top 15 in the world.”
There’s always the possibility this one could be over very early, with Price needing to come out punching in the knowledge that his stamina is suspect. But Allen is fitter and more motivated than ever – so expect him to ride out the rough patches and take control in about the third or fourth, before upping his workrate to stop an exhausted Price in about six rounds.
The Verdict Fans must be in their seats for the start of this one, with an early ending likely whoever the winner.