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For Price, why not test the Klitschkos?

It wasn't so much the fact that towering British heavyweight prospect David Price was able to get past his long-faded countryman Audley Harrison on Saturday that was surprising. Nor, even, that he was able to do it by first-round knockout.

But when you factor in the few things we learned from Price's 87-second demolition at the Echo Arena in his native Liverpool, what stood out was the ease and destructive nature with which Price took out the former Olympic gold medalist.

And that, boxing fans, was impressive.

After both fighters pawed with jabs throughout the first minute of the round, the 6-foot-8 Price rocked the southpaw Harrison with the first punches on which he connected -- a sidearm left hook followed by a right cross. Price (14-0, 12 KOs) followed with a right uppercut against the ropes before adding a left to the body and a right hook upstairs to finish the job.

Harrison (28-6, 21 KOs), 40, who said before the bout he would retire if he lost, was out on his feet before crumbling to the canvas, giving referee Howard John Foster no reason to deliver a count.

So what did we learn about Price? The lean, muscular giant showed good movement and frightening power. He also sat down well on his punches, violently finishing an opponent he had hurt.

Unfortunately, what we learned pales in comparison to what we still don't know about the green Price, who has never gone past seven rounds as a professional. Does he have the stamina to go the distance against a top opponent? Will he break under the pressure of a prolonged attack? What about his chin?

To think that Price, who turned pro in 2009, is ready for the likes of champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko is a bit of a stretch -- especially in his next bout.

But consider this: When will any heavyweight prospect feel completely prepared for the kind of challenges presented by the two accurate and powerful Ukrainian technicians? Sometimes, there's no other way to find out than to actually take the plunge.

The window is closing fast for either Klitschko to truly be tested before calling an end to each's impressive -- yet unceasingly incomplete -- career.

Most likely, promising unbeatens such as Price, Alexander Povetkin, Tyson Fury and Robert Helenius won't be the ones to provide the Klitschkos with the enduring rivalries their careers have lacked up to this point (a criticism, it should be noted, that is completely out of their control).

But finding out firsthand that these fighters aren't ready is incredibly more entertaining (if not more important historically) than watching the Klitschkos batter retreads such as Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman and Jean Marc Mormeck, who lately have provided the kind of opposition that screams they were there for nothing more than a paycheck.

Those fights have been a waste of time, combining of late with Povetkin's reluctance to take his swing (and David Haye's refusal to do the same once inside the ring), leaving both the Klitschkos and heavyweight fans completely bored with the sport's glamour division.

Maybe Price will never be ready. But at the very least, he possesses a rare combination for a Klitschko opponent: size, power and movement. It's the kind of package that just might entice viewers into thinking Price is about as equipped as any to try to do the unthinkable.

With his hometown fans rocking with delight Saturday -- and Price happy to play along by flexing to the Liverpool crowd after the fight -- it had the feel of a tight-knit community joining together in celebration before sending one of its own off to war.

And if you think about it, that's just what it might have been. For Price, it's time to head off to battle.