It wasn't as painless as the first time around, but the result was the same. Tony Thompson stopped David Price in the fifth round today in Liverpool, coming off the canvas in round two to keep going at Price, ultimately breaking him down and forcing the referee to intervene as Price, exhausted, no longer defended himself.
Price started well, as he scored that second round knockdown and was landing his right hand almost at will, with Thompson shaking repeatedly. But the 41-year-old American veteran got his wits about him, and kept distance as best he could in the third frame, as Price, who turned 30 today, punched himself out.
In the fourth, the writing was on the wall. Ending the third round, Thompson had started laying in heavy blows -- they didn't look sharp, they weren't great, clean shots, but Price was feeling them, particularly to the body. Thompson came out in the fourth looking to keep the pressure on, and Price continued to fade.
The fifth round seemed prime time for Thompson (38-3, 26 KO) to pounce on a wounded foe. As Price (15-2, 13 KO) ran out of ideas and hit the true empty bottom of his gas tank, Thompson unleashed shots with both hands, battering Price at center ring. The hometown hero backtracked into the corner, as Price continued to throw shots at a staggering, helpless Price. The referee stepped in for a standing eight count, then called it off, and rightly so. Price did not argue, and did not grant a post-fight interview.
Needless to say, this is an enormous blow to Price, whose career is simply not going to be what promoter Frank Maloney -- who resembled a traumatized witness to a crime -- and many pundits hoped or thought it would be. With two straight stoppage losses to a second-tier heavyweight, Price is not going to be a threat to world titles any time soon. We've seen him dominate at the domestic level, but stepping up to Thompson has proved a bridge much too far for him. There's an in-between, but does he have the drive to go down a level or two, rebuild himself, and try to get back here?
It does not appear we have a new Lennox Lewis. We may have a new Audley Harrison.
After the fight, Thompson delivered one of the all-time great interviews at ringside, touching on subjects such as possibly moving to the UK, whether or not you can say "fuck" on TV in the UK ("Not really," he was told), Tyson Fury ("I would love to fight that big pussy here or in Vegas or anywhere") what his immediate plans are ("I'm gonna go home and break my wife's hip"), and much more.
Also, before the fight, this person played Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" on a saxophone. Horribly. This was a real thing that happened.