Joseph Parker to fight in late February
By Jeff Aronow: Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker will be fighting in late February against an opponent still to be determined, according to his manager David Higgins.
The 27-year-old Parker will be starting training camp next week in Las Vegas for his next fight in February, according to Sky Sports Boxing. In the meantime, Parker’s promoter Eddie Hearn will be digging up an opponent for him to fight.
Eddie has big stable to pick from for Parker
Hearn has access to a lot of good heavyweights, but unfortunately, Parker would be at risk of losing to most of them. Hearn clearly doesn’t want Parker to get beaten before he challenges for a world title, which is why we don’t see him fight any of these guys next:
- Filip Hrgovic
- Michael Hunter
- Alexander Povetkin
- Dillian Whyte
- Oscar Rivas
- Luis Ortiz
- Oleksandr Usyk
A rematch between Parker and Whyte would be an excellent fight for the boxing public, but it’s not going to happen. Whyte needs to lose a lot of weight, and he wouldn’t be ready to fight Parker on one month’s notice.
It’s expected that Parker will be added to the February 29 card headlined by Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas on DAZN at the The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas. That card is already stacked. Adding Parker’s name to the card will make it even better, provided that Matchroom finds a quality opponent.
Parker trying to rebuild career
It’s been a while since Parker fought a live body unfortunately, as his last two opponents have been poor to the extreme. In Parker’s last two fights he’s beaten 40-year-old journeyman Alex Leapai and little known Alexander Flores.
Parker’s manager Higgins is trying to put a positive spin on him fighting the 40-year-old Leapai in his last fight by pointing out that Alex fought Wladimir Klitschko for a world title in 2015.
What Higgins doesn’t say is Klitschko was heavily criticized for taking the fight with the inexperienced Leapai, who’d done nothing to rate a title shot. Not surprisingly, Klitschko easily knocked out Leapai in 5 rounds. Since that fight, Leapai has lost to Malik Scott, Manual Charr and Parker.
The fight against Flores was excusable due to Parker having lost consecutive fights against Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua. But for Parker to fight Leapai in his last fight, it was a pointless match.
Higgins: Parker will be fighting a “DECENT” opponent
“It will be someone decent. Joe had a good win over Alex Leapai who fought (Wladimir) Klitschko for a world title, and he won convincingly,” said Parker’s manager Higgins said to skysports.com.
The word “decent” is likely code for Higgins in meaning that Parker will be matched against a guy that has virtually no chance of beating him next month. If that turns out to be the case, it would be disappointing because it would mean that Parker be facing his third consecutive soft opponent since December of 2018.
What you don’t want to see if Parker chewing up 2 to 3 consecutive years fighting poor opposition over and over. Sadly, he’s better than this, and it’s a waste of his career and his potential. When Parker signed with Matchroom, they were supposed to put him in good matches. Instead, we’ve seen Parker fighting Alexa Leapai, and now he could be facing a similar opponent.
With only a month to go before Parker fights, it’s not likely he’ll be matched against anyone good.
Parker (26-2, 24 KOs) blew his chance for a big payday against fringe contender Dereck Chisora last July when he pulled out of the fight, complaining of having been bitten by a spider.
It’s possible that Parker assumed that he would be able to reschedule with the 36-year-old Chisora. Sadly, that hasn’t happened, and no Parker is left looking to fight whoever in February.
You can argue that Parker should have toughed it out, and fought Chisora anyway regardless of him not feeling well. Fights like Chisora don’t come around too often, and Parker blew it by not going forward.