It's not how you get knocked down, it's how you get back up.
David Price would do well to remember that today.
Tony Thompson silenced a partisan crowd in Liverpool by knocking out David Price to stun the Heavyweight division. Price was considered a legitimate successor to the domination of Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko in the heavyweight division. An Olympic Bronze Medallist and British Champion, Price's reputation as a heavy hitter has sky-rocketed in the last year.
This was a big step up in class for Price, Thompson having fought Wladimir Klitschko in his last fight. His powers were meant to be on the decline and Price was heavy favourite for this fight. The general consensus being that Price would have too much firepower and would gain a mid-to-late round stoppage.
How wrong we were.
The first round was cagey, neither fighter landing a significant punch. They had the look of two fighters who were settling in for a long fight. This couldn't have been further from the truth. Price came out swinging in the second round and sent Thompson back into the corner with some ferocious body shots. Price has stopped each of his last 7 opponents within 4 rounds and this onslaught had people thinking this was going to be another short night for the unbeaten Heavyweight sensation.
No such luck, however. Thompson evaded the onslaught and they began trading blows in the centre of the ring. Thompson then silenced the 6.000 strong home crowd by landing a short right hand onto Price's temple which sent him crashing to the canvas.
Stunned silence from everybody at the Echo arena.
Price made it to his feet, barely. However he was unsteady on his feet, his balance deserting him when he needed it the most. The Referee had no alternative but to stop the fight in the third minute of the second round, to the disbelief of everybody watching around the World.
Make no mistake, this is a devastating blow for David Price. All the pre-fight talk was of future plans, Price stating he was planning on becoming Heavyweight Champion of the World by the end of 2013. This is now a long shot at best, Price having failed his first big test at elite world level. Frank Maloney, Price's promoter, will have to re-evaluate his lofty plans following his loss. Maloney himself was taken ill after the fight and is currently in Hospital. The shock of his prized possession faltering was obviously too much to take.
There haven't been many criticisms regarding Price during his meteoric rise through the Heavyweight ranks. One though is his punch resistance. Price's chin has been a question mark throughout his career and it has barely been tested since he turned professional. This was a big test and one he failed miserably. Price seemed reliant on his punching power as they were exchanging blows and left himself open. As anyone who watches boxing regularly knows, one blow is all it takes in the Heavyweight division.
The one thing Price can take heart from is that the Heavyweight Division is littered with people who have been knocked out and gone on to achieve greatness. Take Price's British counterpart Lennox Lewis, who went on to be undisputed champion after being knocked out cold by Hasim Rahman. Few believed in Lewis after that but a strong work ethic redeemed himself in the best possible way. Lewis took to Twitter last night to offer words of encouragement to Price and he would do well to seek counsel with Lewis to see how he handled the experience and the best way to bounce back.
Price is only 29 and whilst that is a concern for some, Heavyweights have blossomed into their late thirty's throughout time as they are less reliant on their reactions and body movement. This is good news for Price, he still has time to correct his mistakes following this horrible wake up call. He needs to concentrate more on his defensive attributes at the elite level as veterans will know that he is looking for the big right hand and nothing else. Maybe his lack of experience cost him. Price is known for finishing his opponents early and this has resulted in not a lot of time in the ring as of late. Fighters learn the most through experience in the ring. The more rounds they have, the more they become familiar with the different aspects of the game. Price proved to his cost that knocking out inferior opponents does not count for very much when you move to the next level.
So what next for Price? Well, he is still British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion. Maybe a couple of fights at that level to regain his confidence would be a wise move on Frank Maloney's behalf. One thing is for sure, Price needs to get back into the ring as soon as possible. This terrible memory needs to be erased and the sooner that happens the better. Price will have had his confidence shaken but one loss on your record is not a complete disaster. A huge setback, without question, but a disaster in the grand scheme of things it is not. A couple of domestic successes and Price can start looking to the future again.
The fights with the Klitschko's don't look like happening now. Both men will have probably retired by the end of 2014 and Price is a long shot to get a title shot before that time. Price's long anticipated fight with arch rival Tyson Fury also looks like falling by the wayside too. Fury and Price have a hatred for each other that runs deep, stemming from their amateur days when Price defeated Fury in their only bout. Their fight in the pro game has proved difficult to make, Fury seeming reluctant as he vacated his title when Price was mandatory challenger. Maybe now Price seems vulnerable Fury will reconsider his stance and give British Boxing fans what they have craved for almost two years. Price vs Fury would still capture the imagination of fight fans nationwide despite this loss.
As for Thompson, he deserves great credit. He confessed that this would be his last fight if he couldn't defest Price. Seen by many as on the decline and another stepping stone for Price, Thompson showed that he still had some magic left in his gloves and now has a real chance to get what he has been craving. That being another shot at Wladimir Klitschko. He deserves great praise for coming into Price's back yard with his career on the line and put on a performance of this magnitude. If he gets another title shot, he will have earned it.
Price will have to do the same. It's a long road back, but if history has taught us anything, it's that it can be done and will be done again.
By Price? Only time will tell.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_