British heavyweight David Price, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, was viewed by many as a future star in a division that is much in need of one. But then came shocking back-to-back knockout losses to American Tony Thompson, in the second round in February and in the fifth round of their July rematch.
The defeats left Price's career in tatters, but he plans to fight on and announced a major change this week: He has left longtime trainer Franny Smith and will now be trained by Adam Booth, who also trains former heavyweight titlist David Haye, middleweight contender Andy Lee and, until their recent split, super middleweight contender George Groves.
The 30-year-old Price (15-2, 13 KO), the 2012 ESPN.com prospect of the year and the reigning British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion, hopes Booth can help him rebuild his career.
"It's a fresh start," Price said. "I can leave behind what has happened but know that I've learnt from it. I've got the passion back now and am looking forward to getting in shape and putting a few things right."
Price doesn't have a fight scheduled yet, but after parting ways with Smith, he contacted various trainers to seek advice and to possibly talk about working together. One of his calls was to Booth.
"When I first turned pro, I was signed by [Haye's] Hayemaker [Promotions] and only left because of the television situation at the time," Price said. "Adam pointed me in the right direction after that and advised me to go with Frank Maloney, and I've always valued his opinion. So after a brief chat, I brought up the idea of him possibly training me and we decided to have a meeting. I assumed he wanted to see what kind of frame of mind I was in.
"We did a few sessions together just to see how it would work, and he then agreed to train me. Adam is very selective when it comes to choosing fighters to work with. I've got a good feeling about this move, and believe Adam is the man to bring out my true potential."
Booth said he was enthusiastic about working with Price, who has great size and power, but was unable to stick to his game plan against Thompson and also seemed to lack stamina.
"I've always seen massive potential in David and have always been interested in working with him on a full-time basis," Booth said. "In addition to being a talented fighter, he's also a very nice guy and someone who is good for the gym and good for me. I like his personality and I like what he stands for.
"But he's also much more than a nice guy. He's a big heavyweight, standing at 6-foot-8, and he punches harder than anyone I've ever taken on the pads. David has enough power in his right hand to knock out anybody in the heavyweight division. Now we need to add other things to his game to enable him to land his shots and once again feel comfortable in the ring."