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  • David Price v Audley Harrison

Cost of failure too high for Price

ESPN staff
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David Price has no room for sentiment when he faces former hero Audley Harrison © Getty Images
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David Price has a "massive amount to lose" when he defends his British heavyweight title against Audley Harrison in Liverpool on Saturday.

The contrast between the careers of the undefeated 29-year-old and veteran challenger Harrison could not be greater. Harrison's profile skyrocketed after his Olympic heavyweight boxing gold medal in 2000, but he failed to back up his instant stardom with results in the professional ranks.

And Price, who almost turned his back on the sport after a disappointing start to life as a professional - later attributed to an undiscovered fracture in his hand, is aware there is no time for sentiment when he faces one of his former heroes with his own star on the rise.

"It's unfortunate he's become a bit of a joke character who's gone from hero to zero," Price told BBC Sport. "It's a shame. But I can't afford to let that get in the way of business.

"Fact is, because of the way the public perceive him, I've got a massive amount to lose in this fight. If I was to lose to him, how would that make me look?"

Price credits Harrison for sparking a career that has brought him Olympic bronze in 2008 before turning professional a year later, since when he has gone undefeated in 13, winning 11 of his bouts by knockout.

"I was a junior in the England set-up when he won his gold and I was inspired by it, I was his natural successor," Price said. "It was something to be proud of; he was an inspiration to everyone."

Harrison was handed a multi-million pound deal in the wake of his Olympic success that many critics believe to be central to his struggles for motivation at the highest level, not least in his three-round defeat by David Haye in 2010 when he failed to register a punch.

The same can hardly be said for Price, whose early days in the professional game coincided with the collapse of two television deals as well as that undiagnosed injury, which subsequently required surgery.

"It was a baptism of fire but it's helped me become mentally strong and it's going to be the making of me," Price said.

"I've learned my craft and now people are recognising I'm a serious talent. I've been performing consistently and exciting fans, knocking people out, which is the important thing."

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