The Pugilist

Price crash could lure Fury to shop window

Q: What do Tyson Fury and Audley Harrison have in common?

A: They are the only two Brits who probably reacted to news of David Price’s first professional defeat with a rather large smile.

Not that anybody with a heart would take serious pleasure from another man’s misfortunes, but Tony Thompson’s shock second-round knockout of Price in front of the Englishman’s hometown fans in Liverpool can work out rather nicely for both Fury and Harrison.

Fury, who remains unbeaten in the British heavyweight ranks, had spent the last couple of years having his every move compared to fellow prospect Price. The fans wanted an eventual collision between the two, one that would rival Lennox Lewis v Frank Bruno.

And yet, Fury would deny any interest in such a domestic superfight, all the while badmouthing his peer in interviews and via Twitter. He even vacated the British and Commonwealth titles a year ago, just as Price earned mandatory challenger status.

In recent interviews, a less hostile Fury has at least admitted that a bout with Price does appeal, but only once the two had elevated themselves further and perhaps had a world title to put on the line for a huge stadium fight on home soil.

Now that Price has become the first of the two to lose their perfect record, Fury could easily step up his social media bragging, and perhaps even underscore a higher standing over Price in one of two ways:

a) By challenging and defeating Price conqueror Thompson, whom he has also badmouthed in recent months.

b) By doing a 180 on his refusal to meet Price in the ring in an attempt to make hay while his rival is at his lowest point to date.

Ironically, the quickest way Price can bounce back from his maiden loss is by one of the two above routes – a rematch with Thompson to try and prove the eardrum shot was a fluke, or by convincing Fury that he is ripe for the picking only to give his outspoken foe his own taste of the canvas.

Either way, for the first time in the never-ending comparisons between the two, it is well and truly Advantage Tyson.

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While Price fell in Liverpool, this writer was at London’s iconic York Hall watching ‘A-Force’ in his first, second and third bouts since a 82-second pummelling against Price in October.

The decisive defeat was enough to have the masses who’ve taken great pleasure in cheering Harrison’s failings as a much-hyped professional following Olympic success in Sydney almost too embarrassed for him to taunt any more.

Most people just felt sorry for Audley, and hoped he would do himself a favour and retire.

Though he came back with a vengeance by becoming the first-ever two-time Prizefighter winner, the concept itself had a lot to do with that.

A field of eight fighters either looking to make a name for themselves or revive their flagging reputations in three-round snippets complete with £2,000 knockout bonuses, Prizefighter is to boxing what Twenty20 is to cricket.

It’s a great deal of fun, but don’t expect those who excel at it to suddenly translate their apparent form to the far more important Test match stage of 12-round bouts against ranking opponents.

When Harrison caught Claus Bertino cold just 33 seconds into their quarter-final, you could sense the angst of his quick flattening from Price evaporating from his subconscious.

When he outclassed a disappointing Martin Rogan in the semis - in the bout Matchroom marketed the entire tournament around but unfortunately fell short of the hype - another skeleton from Harrison’s past disappeared after a points loss to ‘Rogie’ in 2008.

But when an inevitable final win over Derric Rossy, who had inexplicably snuck past Travis Walker and Ian Lewison on splits with his plucky defensive style, had pundits and reporters alike talking about ‘one last run’ or even having a serious chance of avenging the Price defeat, this writer was one of many who thought he had stumbled into an alternate universe.

Yes, winning Prizefighter on the same night as Price's misfortune will have left Audley feeling mighty high while partying in the capital on Saturday night. But if he’s smart, he’ll think twice about meeting the Liverpudlian again.

In fact, perhaps he should think twice about fighting again. He could easily retire on a high, something he wouldn’t have done if he had hung up the gloves as expected in October.

He won’t, though. He will fight again. And whether it’s Price, Fury, Dereck Chisora or even a world champion who gets the honours of sending the latest Harrison surge the same way as all the others, rest assured it will happen regardless.

‘A-Force’ just doesn’t have what it takes to rule anything but the short-rounds circuit.