David Price may hold a knockout victory over Audley Harrison but it is the former Olympic champion who is smiling now.
By Adam Norman: Twitter @SkySportsNorm. Last Updated: 28/02/13 10:48pm
David Price: Time to rebuild
It was only in October that David Price bludgeoned Audley Harrison into subumission just 82 seconds into their fight in Liverpool.
Yet here we are, five months later, and Harrison is the one smiling like a Cheshire cat while Price is sat licking his wounds.
When Price beat Audley it was little more than anyone expected - Harrison had only had four rounds in the two years since his humiliation at the hands of David Haye, while Price was in the middle of a streak that cleared out the domestic heavyweights.
The big man from Liverpool was again expected to take the step up his stride when he took on Tony Thompson at the weekend, the overweight American thought to be on the decline at 41.
But experience counts for plenty inside the ropes and the wily Thompson showed the benefit of his years, not to mention two fights with Wladimir Klitschko, to land a sneaky right hook to the ear of an unsuspecting Price.
The 6ft 9in colossus went down like an oak tree in a gale, his shocking descent overshadowed several seconds later by his wobbly attempt to remain upright when the wires in his head were still not fully re-connected.
The visual effect was as dramatic as the silence that descended upon the Echo Arena - 6,000-plus fans gobsmacked by what they had seen happen to their great heavyweight hope.
Meanwhile down in Bethnal Green Audley was back in business once again - THE final comeback in a career that promised much, and delivered little but a few big paydays.
Harrison back to his best
And yet the seemingly inexhaustible quest for that elusive world title gathers momentum once more, three convincing victories landing the increasingly svelt 41-year-old a second Prizefighter trophy.
It takes something to return to the ring after the embarrassment of Haye and the nose-breaking disappointment of Price. This time Audley says there are no excuses - no more injuries, no freezing on the big occasion, this time he really will leave it all in the ring.
Sure, Harrison never liked being punched and as such was always reluctant to pull the trigger. But in with guys he knows can't hurt him - namely, Claus Bertino, Martin Rogan and Derric Rossy - Audley looked quite something...dominating with a sharp, accurate right jab while always looking to let fly with the ever-lethal left.
Up against huge hitters like Haye or Price, Harrison is always likely to freeze. But if he can steer clear of them it's not inconceivable to see A-Force progressing further.
But where does he go next? And whither Price? Weighing up the possibilities, a rematch between the pair is unlikely - Price he can hardly do a better job on Audley than he did last time. Names likely to pop up include Dereck Chisora and Michael Sprott.
Chisora should get his licence back next month - and the brash Londoner would relish either fight. Audley would see it as a stepping stone and a ranking boost, for British champion Price it would be a chance to win the Lonsdale Belt outright. But it would be a big test straight after a shocking defeat like that. Odds are he will make a 'quiet' return to gain some confidence before stepping back up a level.
If Audley does fight Chisora (assuming promoter Frank Warren is willing to work with Harrison again) then Sprott could be the man for Price. The Reading veteran clearly has something to offer after beating German prospect Edmund Gerber in December, yet with a career slate of 37-19 there should be many weaknesses for Price to expose.
Whichever way they go, neither is finished yet.