Parker v Fury: A Truly Worthless Fight
By Sangy: First, let’s get things straight about the Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury fight; I wasn’t expecting anything really special here. However, I was just a tiny bit excited for this matchup because here in the states both men are essentially unknown. Fury was pretty much a known commodity, of course, being basically a down-sized version of the perpetual thorn in the side of the heavyweight division–Tyson Fury. I didn’t expect him to do much of anything in this fight, but I wanted to see what Parker could do, and I expected this to be a fight where I could get a good look at him and his potential prowess.
So here we are, the bell rings for round 1 and right out of the gate, I get the sense that this is going to be a long fight. One of the first thing I notice is the size of the ring. I’ve seen bantamweights take up more of the ring before, I immediately know this was a point of negotiation designed to give Hughie the advantage. As expected, Fury is moving like his bigger cousin, but without the sense of danger that Tyson brings with him. Meanwhile, Parker is playing the aggressor to little affect, much as one would expect when his opponent shows little interest in actually fighting, and a complete focus on simply evading. Frankly, some good shots are landed by Parker even in the early-going, but it just doesn’t have the impact you expect from a heavyweight champion.
It takes a few rounds, but gradually, Fury’s defense does start to break down and the challenger resorts to increasingly egregious holding and pulling. At one point, in the 3rd round, even reaching out to grab the head of a stock-straight Parker and pulling it down to waist-level in order to avoid taking more punches as he leans on his man and looks off into the crowd in a disgusting display of disrespect for the sport. To the referee’s credit, he does begin to increasingly dissuade these sorts of tactics before the mid-point of the fight. Thankfully, despite Hughie’s obvious lack of respect, he seems to actually be interested in trying to win, so when officially warned (multiple times, mind you), the dirty tactics do finally dwindle by the 6th round.
So, we’re past the mid-point in a 12-round fight and Parker, who had been increasingly landing with authority suddenly finds himself struggling for the first time in the fight. This is not to imply that Hughie is fighting effectively. Rather, starting in the 7th, Hughie ups the tempo of his evasive maneuvers. Likely the outcome of being told he’d lose points for any further grappling tactics, Hughie begins to unabashedly run from his opponent in a ring so large it could serve as a used car lot. In the mean-time, an increasingly frustrated Parker leaves himself open for the first couple of honest power punches landed by Hughie in this contest.
Chasing a running opponent is never a situation you want to face in the boxing ring. Your power vanishes, and every lunging punch is an invitation for counters. Through the next couple rounds, this is the unfortunate story that unfolds. Hughie moving constantly, goading his opponent in an attempt to find a perfect counter opportunity, and actually finding 1-2 solid punches per round. Since fighting such an opponent is nigh impossible when you’re the smaller man, Parker unsurprisingly looks to be at his worst during these particular rounds, and even I would’ve scored them the way of Hughie.
In all likelihood, simply due to Hughie’s utter lack of punching power, Parker eventually begins to land effectively as the rounds go on. Hughie’s counters dwindle and then cease all but entirely as we reach the last three rounds. He does begin to actually set his feet and honestly box his opponent occasionally for the first time in the fight, but primarily he continues to run while looking too weary to mount any legitimate offense at this point. This brings us to the absolute most disappointing fact in this, frankly, pathetic display. Even when Hughie runs out of space and Parker is able to land solid, the power just doesn’t seem to be there. Maybe Parker is tired from all that running at this point, it’s hard to say, but he lands his best shots in these later rounds and Hughie never even staggers.
So, against a man who has nothing to offer except evasion, Parker never manages to show any genuine ability. I don’t blame him for the lack of skill on display, however; I doubt a single man in the heavyweight division could look like a real boxer against Hughie Fury in such a large ring. The man is sometimes lauded as ‘awkward’, and that is certainly true, but it’s far from the full truth. He’s awkward, but not in the way of Deontay Wilder or Andre Ward, whose offense is awkward and hard to read. Hughie is awkward to fight, because no heavyweight is used to running across a ring at a man who is as likely to slide and pivot out as he is to turn his back and sprint a couple steps to the opposite ropes.
He made Parker look bad, but made himself look a whole lot worse. Who knows what the future holds for Joseph Parker, because this fight offered no one any insight into what skill this man might offer a serious opponent. If the rumors of a clash with the likes of Anthony Joshua come to pass, we might just get to see if Parker is the paper champion his detractors claim, or if he really does deserve to hold the strap.