Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker – Nobody Should Be Surprised
By Sangy: I think a lot of eyes were opened by Saturday’s fight in the Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Which is to say more precisely, all those people who put on their blinders to his weaknesses were finally forced to take a long, hard look at the fighter Joshua really is.
In the ring with an opponent who wouldn’t be put off by a hard punch, and who moved well, Joshua simply couldn’t do anything. Joshua won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but not by the margins the judges gave him–and they definitely gave him most of those rounds. The scores were 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109. It was a very closely contested fight, the kind of fight that this fight fan fully expected. I knew it would go one of two ways: Either it would be a close fight to the end, or Parker would knock Joshua out. There were no other possible outcomes, but what I can’t imagine is how so few supposed fans saw this coming.
Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) isn’t a puncher, but he hurt Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) multiple times in their fight, and the first time it happened Joshua practically gave up on hurting his opponent until the final moments of the twelfth. It was clear in his body language, Joshua was a fighter who had real fear. The biggest problem was this was the first time he was in there with a guy that wouldn’t be stopped with one lucky punch. When Parker took a few good shots early and threw right back, those were the same shots that got Joshua in trouble. Joshua understood from then that he could not be the aggressor. He could not afford to be counter-punched by a man who could leave an opening and still hit back.
Wladimir Klitschko is to-date the biggest puncher Joshua has fought, but that was a faded version of a former champion–hardly the same man that ruled the division for nearly a decade. Wladimir is the same fighter Tyson Fury had made a mockery of 1 1/2 years prior in November 2015, followed by a year and a half away from the ring. Saying that he beat Wladmir Klitschko is reminiscent of saying Rocky Marciano knocked out Joe Louis. In a world of plain facts, these events did happen. But they are nevertheless not to be taken as truths.
In the end, Anthony Joshua has finally been exposed for what he is. Basically, a journeyman with a punch. Joshua’s fundamentals are good enough to win a fight against a smaller man with no power to speak of but a world-class chin, good movement and only so-so boxing ability. Add power with a chin and even decent legs, and Joshua will be watching someone else hoist his belts.
I think everyone in Joshua’s camp knows this. That’s why Joshua didn’t fight Luis Ortiz. I bet if Tyson Fury returned to the ring today (fat and all), they’d run from that fight, too. Joshua isn’t terrible, but he’s no reigning champ. He just hasn’t fought a real champion yet for people to notice.