As David Price had noted in the build-up to his fight with Alexander Povetkin: ‘Upsets happen in sport every single day’. Unfortunately for the Liverpool giant, not on this day, not in this mismatch. For a short moment, it looked like he would make a stunning return to the top of the division, before he suffered the most brutal of knockouts in round five.
This was the ultimate shot at redemption for the former Olympian once tipped to end the Klitschko’s long reign of the heavyweight title. Price, whose meteoric rise was dramatically derailed by two fighters who then tested positive for banned substances, was handed an unlikely shot at the big time by a fighter twice banned for doping.
It should have been Price, a bronze medallist at the 2004 games in Athens, topping these cards, filling arenas and fighting for world titles.
David Price was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin during their heavyweight bout
Price laid motionless on the canvas after being knocked down by Povetkin in the fifth round
The 34-year-old had fought gamely before being dropped by the Russian on Saturday night
But the 34-year-old giant, who stands at 6ft 8ins, is a shadow of his former self. And though fairytales do happen in sport, some things are too good to be true.
For a period, however, the crowd here in Cardiff dared to dream. When he was floored by a big left hook midway through the third round, a bloodied Price looked ready to be taken out. But the Liverpool fighter, whose chin and credentials has been questioned no end, held on before turning the fight with a stunning left hook of his own. Povetkin staggered backwards before receiving a standing eight count as the unthinkable suddenly seemed within grasp.
The bell saved the Russian and Price continued to hold his own in the fourth. But then a brutal-two punch combination left the Liverpool favourite needing medical treatment. An overhand right rendered him standing but barely conscious. As his opponent stood motionless, with his hands down, the Russian ended the fight with a chilling left hook.
For Povetkin, the finish was the kind of message he needed to send Anthony Joshua – to whose WBA title he will soon be the mandatory challenger. For his opponent, meanwhile, the time has surely come to call it a day. Despite faring much better than many predicted, Price has now suffered a number of chilling knockouts that have left him bereft of confidence and surely now out of chances.
Povetkin ended the bout with this devastating left hook at the Principality Stadium
It’s that tentativeness that meant Povetkin was the more adventurous of the two early on, looking to fire off powerful combinations through the home fighter’s high guard. Price, for his part, was predictably passive for long periods, but a couple of stiff shots from the Liverpool fighter did find their home, rousing the crowd and giving the giant cause for optimism.
But as early as the second round, Povetkin, who surrendered two world title shots after twice positive for banned substances in 2016, began to land with some heavy shots.
The fight then exploded in the third as both fighters landed brutal left hooks. The end looked nigh as Price cursed a lapse in concentration and blood poured from his nose. But by the end of the round, he was seemingly on the cusp of an incredible victory. But it was not to be.
Price was also knocked down in the third round – but managed to get back up on to his feet
The end of that round saw Povetkin fly back into the ropes after being stunned by Price