Coldwell getting the right Price
Dave Coldwell is as equally at home donning a tracksuit in his role as a top flight trainer, as he is wearing an expensive suit as a manager and a promoter. Name a job in the boxing business and Coldwell, a 41-year-old former 1990's flyweight, has probably done it. From fighter to head of boxing at Hayemaker Promotions, and boss of his own promotional company, the Calcutta born Coldwell is currently enjoying a golden spell as a trainer with the McDonnell twins, Jamie (IBF 118lbs champion) and Gavin (WBC Silver 122lbs titlist) as well as WBC 175lbs champion Tony Bellew.
However, his biggest project in more ways than one, is the rehabilitation of 6ft 8ins former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price, after a series of brutal knockout losses left the Liverpudlian's once promising career in the doldrums. 33-year-old Price was knocked out by Erkan Teper in a controversial fight for the European title in July last year, but following the fight Teper tested positive for a banned substance. Price returned to the ring at Goodison Park in May this year with renewed vigour under the tutelage of Coldwell for the first time.
Price was matched with Vaclav Pejsar, a 31-year-old Czech heavyweight, to ease himself back into action and to put into practice things he'd been working on in the gym. The exercise was largely a success as Price worked his jab more robustly, and seemed calmer under pressure whenever his opponent let his hands go on route to a second round stoppage win that took his tally to (20-3, 17 KOs)
“I thought he looked technically different in his last fight, and overall I was pleased with how he performed. It was a perfect comeback fight” Coldwell told Boxing Monthly over the phone. “We got offered the guy Dereck Chisora beat in his comeback fight, but the guy was a human punch bag and I didn't want that. The way David has been looking in the gym that opponent wouldn't have offered him anything. We wanted someone who would punch back and I think we got that.
“In the past Pricey didn't use his jab properly, he pushed it out instead of snapping it and he was too cautious,” Coldwell added. “In the heavyweight division if you don't give your opponent something to fear they will steamroller you.”
“A lot of it is mental with Pricey, and it has been in the past. Some fighters, maybe through a lack of knowledge, can fall apart under pressure and confidence comes from experiencing it in the gym, and knowing how to cope with pressure when it comes in a fight. I thought Pricey coped better with that side of things in his last fight,” Coldwell said.
“Next, we want a step up. Another six or eight rounder, but against a better opponent. We asked for Eric Molina for the [Matchroom] Leeds show” Coldwell revealed. “But he wanted too much money so ultimately that hasn't happened, but we want him out again as soon as possible.”
Let’s not forget that Price has been here before. In 2012 it seemed inevitable that the huge punching Liverpudlian would graduate from domestic destroyer to heavyweight world title challenger, much the same way that Anthony Joshua elevated himself to the IBF world championship. But two shocking losses at the hands of American Tony Thompson in 2013 derailed the Price express, and sent him on a rehabilitation mission that began promisingly in Germany, but ended in disaster last year. The acid test for the Price and Coldwell partnership will come when the big heavyweight is stepped up again.
“Yep, that's it basically,” Coldwell said. “In the last fight that guy had Pricey on the ropes a few times but he remained calm, rode the shots well and then tied the guy up to nullify his attack. He wasn't doing that before. Things like that, breaking down an attack is basic survival and that's what I've been teaching hi,” Coldwell said.
“Look, you're gonna get hit in boxing. We have this conversation all the time. He's gonna get hit again and he's gonna get hurt, but it's how he copes with it. When he first came to me you could see he was nervous when someone threw shots at him in sparring, but ask anybody he spars now and they will tell you he's improved a 100 per cent.
“Of course the job is not to get hit, but if you do it's all about dealing with the situation. It's heavyweight boxing. I don't care who you are, if you get hit flush on the chin you're gonna get hurt. People like to focus on Pricey's chin. Dillian Whyte got sleeped by AJ but are people saying that Dillian can't take a punch? No they're not because it's heavyweight boxing."
Price once told me that he felt burdened and inhibited by the weight of expectation placed on his shoulders by fight fans of the great fighting city of Liverpool, when he was laying to waste all that stepped in his way. Ultimately he paid heavily for that when he seemed to freeze on the big stage, but Coldwell believes all that is in the past and the big guy has a smile on his face again.
“Pricey is in contact with the [McDonnell] twins and with Bellew in the gym. Even though I train my fighters one on one, some of the sessions overlap. It's a great atmosphere in the gym and I only want positivity. The twins and Tony are champions, and then there's Pricey!” Coldwell joked.
“I have a rule in the gym that if you win a title you don't pay subs, so Pricey is the only one paying subs at the moment! He brought that up himself yesterday so he knows what he has to do. He can have a laugh and a joke now, whereas when he first arrived you had to be careful what you said around him, but now we take the piss out of him being knocked out and he takes the piss out of himself!
“That's what I'm saying about his mental state now, it tells you something when a guy can laugh at himself, and I really believe that there is another chapter to the David Price story.”
Separating Coldwell's stints as a head trainer was the growth of his promotional company Coldwell Boxing, and as the business began to make a name for itself on the small hall circuit in the North West of England Coldwell was forced to dedicate a large amount of his time to the business, meaning coaching fighters was put to bed.
However, when Tony Bellew invited Coldwell to his house to sell him his dream of world domination he returned to Yorkshire as a coach once again, and now it is the promotional business that has taken a back seat. As Coldwell explains he is finding the lifestyle more to his liking and kinder on his wallet!
“Promoting is on the back burner for a couple of reasons. I'm busy on the management and coaching side of the sport. At the higher level a lot of planning goes into the fight preparation, and I don't always know where my fighters will be and when they will have a fight so I can't commit to a date for a show.
“Also, in boxing you can't do everything, well you can but not always to the level you'd like. As Coldwell Boxing we got to a high level, but when you're putting on high level title fights and competitive fights where people are getting well paid it's hard to make money yourself.”
“We were paying these fighters for good fights on non-TV shows, and when they get to a certain level they're fighting on TV shows and you don't have them for your shows anyway! It's a loss leader. Without television its very, very hard as a promoter. When you have a kid selling 80 tickets in a four rounder you can get away with it but now, speaking to other promoters the doctors’ fees have gone up so it’s really hard.
“We had Coldwell TV which was costing us a fortune and any money we made was getting pumped back into the business to keep it going, I wasn't seeing any of it,” Coldwell revealed.
“We thought if Sky were looking around for dates we'd be at the forefront, but they renewed with Eddie (Hearn) for another five years which was a kick in the nuts. Did we want to wait and lose money for the next five years? No, we didn't. And at the time I was 40-years-old and I needed to spend more time with my family because you never know what will happen in life.”