COACH JOE MCNALLY SPEAKS ABOUT DAVID PRICE (AND OTHER THINGS)
By Rachel Aylett
At today’s press conference, publicising David Price’s upcoming pay per view heavyweight fight against Dave Allen, I discuss the fight with Price’s coach, former top amateur boxer Joe McNally. Here are his thoughts on the fight and his boxer.
Was David always going to fight the winner of Browne/Allen? Was that already cut and dried?
I’ll tell you the truth. Last year he took the Sergey Kuzmin fight on seven days’ notice, with an injury. It was my decision to pull David out of the fight, going into the fifth round. I didn’t want the fight in the first place, but we took the opportunity. After that defeat, we sat down and re-evaluated where we were going. We then got the Tom Little fight. Off the back of the Tom Little fight, we discussed that we would like either Lucas Browne or David Allen. Now, our preference was Lucas Browne, not entirely because we thought it was the easier fight but more on his name, a former world champion, etc. etc. We then had the Kash Ali fight, circumstances happened and we’ve ended up with Dave Allen.
I’m more than happy with this fight, especially at this stage of David’s career and of Dave Allen’s career. Yes, a lot of people see this as a 50-50 fight, but we’ve always had our eye on the ball for the Dave Allen fight.
David’s strength is his power whilst Dave Allen’s is his durability, so how does David Price win this fight?
As a coach, I’ve seen Dave Allen up close – he’s been down my gym to spar with one of my fighters for the Lucas Browne fight, so I’ve seen him first hand sparring. I think he does underplay himself. He is average, I’m under no illusions, but he’s good at everything right across the board, which accumulates into making a good fighter. That’s why he’s so durable, because he’s very good at a lot of things. Now David Price has got the power. A lot of people question his stamina but a lot of factors go on behind the scenes. David’s all round boxing ability, boxing i.q., setting up shots, walking Dave Allen onto shots or whether we want to apply pressure. Whatever game plan we put into place, Dave will be fit enough to implement it on the night. At that weight you can be as durable as you want, but when you don’t see the shot coming, you’re gonna go.
Can David Price win this on points?
Oh yeah – we’ll be training to win this fight on points.
Do we know yet if this is a 10 or 12 round fight?
It’s a 12-round fight.
So will there be a belt on the line?
As it stands, not yet. But I assume there will be some kind of international bauble on the line as its a 12-rounder. But we will be going into camp – we’ve got 12 weeks to prepare. We were actually meant to be in Miami as we speak, for two weeks, sparring Jarrell Miller, but obviously circumstances changed. David has never really been out of the gym since the Kash Ali fight and we’ll be prepared for 12 hard rounds.
David definitely has the ability to outbox Dave Allen doesn’t he?
Oh yes. one million percent. He’s got the ability to outbox and outfight him, to beat him on points or to knock him out. It’s gonna be … Dave Allen’s durability makes it a good fight.
If David can beat Dave Allen, what do you see in the future. Is he tied up with Matchroom?
He isn’t. I’ve got to go on record, being an ex-fighter myself, there are a lot of promoters in the sport who are arseholes. But what Eddie (Hearn) and Barry are doing in the sport is nothing but remarkable for the sport. A lot of their fighters work with them on a fight-by-fight basis and they’ve stood by their fighters, which is fantastic. They’ve given David opportunity after opportunity. After beating Dave Allen, could he fight Anthony Joshua? Could he fight Dillian?
At the very top you’ve got Joshua, Wilder and Fury. Just below them there is obviously Dillian. Luis Ortiz has just knocked the fight back (with Joshua) for big money. The only reason I can see for that happening, and I will go on record with this, is because he is on steroids. He took a payday against Wilder of half a million dollars, why would he turn down five or six million?. I wear my heart on my sleeve and say that’s the only possible reason he’s knocked the fight back. For these top-tier heavyweights, there are no dance partners out there. Coming off the back of either a points victory or a knockout victory over Dave Allen, David Price could possibly get a title shot. You know what’s funny, we were talking last year, you know, where do we go, what do we want to do next and one of the names in the mix was Andy Ruiz. Funny enough, he’s a similar fighter, sort of, to Dave Allen, and we were looking at that fight ourselves. Now here’s Andy Ruiz fighting Anthony Joshua, so you don’t know what’s around the corner.
I just feel that David Allen is the right opponent and has the right style for David Price to shine.
It must be hard for David, he’s almost disrespected now because of the fights he’s lost?
All these motherfuckers, they don’t know boxing. I would love some of them to come and sit down and try to explain “look, this is boxing”. I have a fighter who lost recently, he never turned up and lost by tko in the second round, and he’s a phenomenal fighter. He’s a big man, he’s a cruiserweight, and he got caught cold, he switched off. This is boxing. Now David’s lost to top-tier heavyweights and I just cannot understand …… Dereck Chisora lost to Dillian in the eleventh round, but there’s no criticism towards him. You know, you can get knocked out – that’s boxing.
I think it’s because so much was expected of David and he had such a great start to his career?
Exactly. I’ve been coaching David now for 15-16 months and we’re fortunate enough to have come into each other’s career at the time when he’s having the biggest fight of his career. I would have liked to have been with him earlier in this career, but I was a fighter myself then so I couldn’t have been his coach. At the start of his career he got rushed, it was too much, too soon. He was young and he should have just carried on learning his trade. He had the loss against Thompson and he should have walked away from that rematch.
Frank Maloney (David’s promoter at the time, now Kelly) didn’t want it did he?
Exactly. Even Franny Smith, his coach at the time, a fantastic coach, he didn’t want the fight. That’s what a lot of people don’t know. David is actually one of the most confident men you will ever come across and he pushed for that fight. I just wish that I’d been with him at that time. I would have said “not at this time, let’s give it a while and take a different route”, and maybe he’d be at the top now.
Have you seen any changes in David since you’ve been with him?
When we first started working together, obviously being from the same city I knew him, but we weren’t really close friends, but I heard all the stories about him ” his mind’s not there” “his confidence is this and that”, it’s all a load of shite and when I met the lad he’s just the most confident man, and he’s got a nasty streak in him. When we started working in the gym I saw that there was nothing he could not do. He can box, he can bang, he’s got good speed, he’s got a good defence and all he’s got to do is carry it into the ring and the change, I would say, is that he’s a lot smarter, he can see that he’s on the last leg of his career and he’s gone from bein that prospect – he’s the veteran now, he’s experienced now. That’s what I’ve found, being a young coach in the sport and working with young fighters, working with David he’s long in the tooth and it’s now about utilising that experience to his own advantage. As I said, we weren’t really close friends before, but I have now gained a life-long friend, the relationship works fantastic, it really does.
Could David come back from another loss in this fight?
I would never say never, but obviously a fight of this magnitude …. and I have stated this to David, where would we go after a loss to Dave Allen? In my opinion, there would be nowhere to go for him. That’s how much we’ve got riding on this fight.