Perhaps Parker’s just too nice

New Zealander Joseph Parker sprawls on the ground after being  knocked down by British boxer...
New Zealander Joseph Parker sprawls on the ground after being knocked down by British boxer Dillian Whyte during their heavyweight fight at the O2 Arena in London last Sunday. Photo: Reuters
Boxing correspondent Jack Salter lists 10 things we learned about Joseph Parker following his loss to Dillian Whyte.

1  He does not have a granite chin, but it is still pretty good

Sure, Parker was floored twice and the second knockdown, unlike the first, was genuine, but he still got up, fought on and nearly won.

The punch that floored Parker in the ninth was full of legitimate power and many of today’s and past heavyweights would have folded then and there.

2  Parker’s got elite hurt in his hands but bringing it out of him is an issue

He clearly hurt Whyte in the 12th and for the want of another minute we may have been talking about a phenomenal comeback win, but the fact remains Parker waited way too long to pull the trigger.  He needs to lock and load those power shots much earlier.

3  He could do with a bit of conditioning work

Parker looked flat and tired way before he should have and a decent strength and conditioning coach — and in turn some abs — probably wouldn’t go astray. Knockout power is all about good technique coupled with leg and core strength.

While Parker was oddly pausing briefly at times after throwing his overhand right early  against Whyte, for the most part the technique and leg power looked solid, so what about the core?

4  It is all about jab dominance

When Parker wins the jab battle he looks sound and assured but when he is losing that battle he looks the opposite.

He has to set a pace and win multiple rounds set up by his jab rather than ebbing and flowing and winning rounds here and there.

5  Failure to keep his hands up is a real issue

Too often Parker was keeping his right hand down  and the left hook knockdown from Whyte was inevitable, really.

It is a habit that irks trainer Kevin Barry and it is one Parker needs to tidy up and Barry needs to break. 

6  Parker is just too nice and nice guys hardly ever win

Smiling at opponents, such as Whyte, and in general being nicer rather than mean is not the way to win the mental game.  It won’t get you to the top for long in the heavyweight division.

Being civil and respectful in the lead-up to a fight is one thing, but a boxer has to know when to flick the mongrel switch and fight fire with fire when things are getting ugly.

You either have the attitude to flick that switch or you don’t, and it appears Parker does not have it.

7  He has heart of a lion and the courage to back it up

Parker took plenty of punishment from Whyte but even when he had to drag himself off the canvas or come out for what seemed a hopeless 12th round, Parker never gave in and he showed the guts of a champion.

8  He may not be a good listener

Following his win over Hughie Fury last year and his loss to Whyte, Parker admitted he failed to follow game plans.

While many people have questioned the merits of Kevin Barry as a trainer,  perhaps it is time to question Parker, the listener.

9  If Parker fights in the United Kingdom again surely he gets a referee who adjudicates to the rules of boxing

Italian referee Guiseppe Quartarone stifled any chance Parker had of  beating  Anthony Joshua, thanks to his poor no-punching-on-the-inside officiating, and British referee Ian John-Lewis was simply negligent in his failure to pull up Whyte for his constant rough-house infringements, including punching behind the head, holding the back of the head while throwing uppercuts, and trying to push Parker over the ropes. Neither referee was solely responsible for Parker losing but they definitely impacted his performance and the suspicious head-clash knockdown from Whyte in the second round  had genuine ramifications. But appealing the result  will not  change anything.

10  The end maybe nigh

Parker has the skills to compete with the best of them and he can get better, but there is a

sense that the party may be coming to an end.

Great champions evolve over time and at 26 Parker  could level up, but there is a feeling that while he has stated he wants to compete for another four or five years,   it could all be over within a year or two.

Maybe he will suffer another loss or perhaps he will simply decide he has made enough money, and  becoming a great champion is not as appealing as it once was. Either way, four or five years seems an awful long way down the line.

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