• Andrew Flintoff v Richard Dawson

Price: Flintoff side-show is disrespecting boxing

ESPN staff
November 30, 2012 « Mancini wary of Chelsea title threat | Chartbeat test »
Andrew Flintoff weighs in for Richard Dawson fight

David Price has accused Andrew Flintoff of "disrespecting boxing" as the former England cricketer prepares to make his ring debut on Friday.

Flintoff fights on the same show - although at a different venue - as Price's British and Commonwealth title bout against Matt Skelton, which itself has been derided as a mismatch as the vicious Liverpudlian takes on the 45-year-old Skelton.

Plenty of interest has been paid to the debut of Flintoff, who takes on 23-year-old Richard Dawson at the Manchester Arena. The former England cricket captain insists he is serious about his career in boxing, but Price is not impressed.

"What he is doing is disrespectful to boxing, especially if it turns out to be a farce on the night," Price said in the Independent. "That would be a dreadful advert for the sport.

"I am sure he is taking it seriously - and he needs to. At least he seems to be in shape. I wish him well but I can't see him making a career out of it. I think this is a one-off, a sideshow.

"I remember my first amateur fight, I thought I was fit and about 20 seconds into the bout I realised I wasn't. I just hope he doesn't get badly hurt. When that first punch lands on his chin he'll know this isn't cricket."

Flintoff has worked with trainer Barry McGuigan to prepare for the fight, but he does not have the same upbringing as Dawson, who spent three months in jail last year for aggravated assault and battery.

"We ain't here to play cricket," Dawson said. "I looked at some tapes [of Flintoff playing cricket] and it don't mean nothing to me. It looks like a female sport, you know, sissy stuff.

"I grew up in a real rough neighbourhood close to Tulsa, fighting my whole life. There was drug dealings and shootings happening the whole time. My best friend got shot and killed by drug dealers.

"I did the driving and I got shot in the back four times. When I was lying in the hospital I was sure I was going to die. I only stopped fighting on the streets when I went to the gym and learned to box."

Dawson has won both his professional bouts to date, and he was nearly two stones heavier than Flintoff at Thursday's weigh-in.

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