Price 23-6 (19) versus Ali 15-0 (7) appears on the undercard of Saturday’s Matchroom Boxing show at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena.
The 6’8” Liverpudlian and former Olympian, Price, is edging into the final stages of his career at 35 years of age. Most recently he claimed a stoppage win against Tom Little in December, before that he did not see the final bell in facing Russian adversaries Sergey Kuzmin and Alexander Povetkin.
Pundits, and fans of Price, have often reminded us of the heavyweight’s undoubted power. He has a massive frame, a lengthy reach and a show-stopping right hand. The flip-side though, and the reason Price is quite so fascinating, is that every one of his six losses has come by stoppage of some sort.
Price, then, is a distillation of the mainstream appeal of heavyweight boxing. He can knock opponents out, or he can get knocked out. The judges have only been called on in four of Price’s 29 career outings.
That begs the question: does Kash Ali have the credentials to exploit Price’s vulnerabilities?
On paper Ali’s experience simply doesn’t measure up. Only two of his opponents had more wins than losses and one of those two opponents was David Howe 14-11 (6) who has, for the most part, acted as a heavyweight journeyman since 2016. Howe has been stopped ten times too.
The pair share a former opponent in Kamil Sokolowski, but where Price won six rounds out of six, Ali just edged past the Pole, with the four round bout being scored 39-38.
The Birmingham man, who has been trained by the Ingles and Dave Coldwell in the past, and now works with Adam Etches, cites Sokolowski as his toughest battle to date.
Ali does carry the psychological advantage of entering Saturday’s bout as an undefeated professional, however he will have to have made considerable improvements in his latest camp in order to become the seventh man to stop Price.
It will take a stoppage too. Price’s reach means Ali will struggle as regards point scoring but the Liverpool man fights at a slow tempo and, if Ali can speed things up slightly, he may be more likely to find openings.
Ali offers openings of his own though and is not exactly fleet of foot. He doesn’t seem to be a fighter built to push the tempo and unsettle Price.
Ali told IFL TV, “I believe in myself and I believe this is my time to showcase what I can do.” He aims to prove that he’s “a real contender” by beating Price and a win would certainly open a lot of doors.
If Price can use his range effectively he is likely to be able to force another stoppage. It’s impossible to rule out an upset though given Price’s fragility.
His loss to Christian Hammer, in which the Liverpool man completely ran out of gas before being stopped, is concerning for fans too. It would suggest that Ali will fare better if he can take the fight longer.
Arguably Tom Little, though severely limited as a heavyweight, showed more stylistically to suggest that he could trouble Price. The referee stopped Price versus Little prematurely and fans were deprived of seeing that match up come to a real conclusion. Ali will need a slice of luck to do any better but heavyweight boxing’s biggest cliché is as relevant as ever: “It only takes one punch”.