Parker could face Hughie Fury or Deontay Wilder next
By Scott Gilfoid: The promoters for new WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) are talking about his first fight as the WBO champion either a unification match against WBC champ Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) or a mandatory defense against unbeaten #5 WBO Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs).
Even if the World Boxing Organization orders the 24-year-old Parker to defend against Hughie next, he could still potentially face the talented 6’7” Deontay in a unification match due to unification fights overriding mandatory defenses. Wilder vs. Parker would be a great fight. I’d be the first in line to see that one.
Parker vs. Hughie would be a dreadful fight of the first order. Hughie has NO power at all whatsoever and hasn’t seen action since his poor performance against journeyman Fred Kassi last April. That was the fight in which the ringside doctor stopped the fight in the 7th round due to the very tired looking Hughie suffering a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads.
Hughie dominated the first five rounds with his hit and run fighting style. However, by the 6th round, Hughie got tired from the running he was doing, and he started to take tremendous shots to the head from Kassi. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if the fight had gone on much longer, Hughie would have been knocked out by Kassi. Hughie was that tired. He wasn’t going to make it the full 12 rounds, no way. But then a miracle happened. Hughie accidentally rammed his head into the head of Kassi in the 7th, and this opened up a big cut over the left eye of Hughie. The referee stopped the action a short while later and had the ringside doctor examine the cut. The fight was then halted. Hughie ended up winning the fight as it went to the scorecards. Without that miracle cut occurring, I think Hughie would have wound up getting knocked out by Kassi, because he was exhausted and he had lost control of the fight.
Parker recently beat previously undefeated #3 WBO Andy Ruiz Jr. (29-1, 19 KOs) by 12 round majority decision last Saturday night on December 10 at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Two of the judges scored the fight 115-113, 115-113 for Parker, while the third judge scored it 114-114. I personally thought the fight could have gone either way.
It was a close win for Parker or a close win for Ruiz Jr. It was one of those fights where there was very little to separate the two heavyweights. Ruiz Jr. looked like the better fighter in the first half of the fight, but then Parker came on strong in the second half. A draw would have been fine, but you’re not going to get a draw in a fight for the vacant WBO heavyweight title. Someone had to win. Ruiz Jr. only has himself to blame for not fighting harder in the second half.
When you’re fighting in another guy’s home country, you’ve got to do more than usual in order to get a win. Ruiz Jr. could have won the fight if he poured it on in the championship rounds between 9 and 12. It just looked like Ruiz Jr. got a little tired, and this allowed Parker to come on and take the win. However, if Ruiz Jr. had continued fighting like he had in the first five rounds, then Parker would have had no chance against him. Ruiz Jr. was too quick and too busy during that part of the fight.
Parker’s promoter David Higgins of Duco Events said this to skysports.com about whether Parker will be defending against Hughie or facing Deontay next:
“If we are required to fight Hughie Fury, then that simplifies things a bit,” said Higgins. “If the opponent is required to be Hughie Fury then we’ll assess the pros and cons of holding it in England versus holding it in New Zealand, and we wouldn’t rule out either. The other thing is to reach out to Al Haymon’s people about Deontay Wilder, potentially seeking to unify all of the belts.”
Well, I know which fight I’d much rather see Parker fight, and that sure isn’t a title defense against young 22-year-old Hughie. The only fight that makes ANY sense at all for Parker is a unification match against Wilder. Just imagine how much interest a unification fight between Parker and Deontay would generate in New Zealand or in the U.S.
It would be huge. If Parker were to win that fight, he would have two of the four major heavyweight titles in the division. Parker could then face IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua after he likely destroys 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, and they would have a HUGE unification fight. Joshua will be fighting for the vacant WBA heavyweight title against Wladimir. So if he wins that fight, Joshua will have the WBA and IBF titles in his possession.
A fight against the winner of the Parker-Wilder fight will have all four heavyweight titles on the line. That would be a REAL big money fight and one worthy of the boxing world’s interest. Sorry, I don’t rate the Joshua-Klitschko fight as a fight of real interest. It’s just an old timer fighting a young lion in Joshua, and the outcome of the fight is painfully obvious. I don’t see Joshua vs. Klitschko as being a PPV worthy fight or one worth paying to see live. If it on free television, I might watch it if nothing else is one just out of curiosity. The fight is the equivalent of a car crash. I might turn my head to look at it as a driving by, but I’m not going to go out of my way to see it.
“My understanding is that if we go to unify, it potentially overrides the mandatory, so that means we have options,” said Higgins. We are not scared of anyone, we’re not going to look to pad or dodge – we want to unify.”
If the WBO pushes Parker to fight Hughie, they would be doing him a favor, because that’s an easy fight for him. Hughie can’t punch, as I mentioned earlier, and he likely will gas out within six rounds. The only thing that Parker would have to watch out for is to make sure he builds up a lead just in case we see another miracle head-butt where Hughie suffers another cut, causing the fight to be halted after six rounds. If Hughie can build up a lead in the first six rounds with his hit and run fighting style, a stoppage from another head-butt could see Hughie win the fight just like he did against Kassi. It would be sad to see Hughie win another fight like that, because that’s not really how you want to see a fighter picking up wins. Winning by going six rounds and getting head-butt stoppages are kind of sad. That’s why it would be in Parker’s best interest to make sure he takes most of the first six rounds against Hughie, because you just never know what’s going to happen. If Hughie winds up looking like a Billy Goat in the 7th, anything is possible when it comes to a find-ending cut occurring.