My review of Joshua vs Parker
Early in the evening yesterday when asked by my mate Hatchy if I thought it was going to be a good fight I replied:-
“But given the respective styles of the two boxers I can’t see how it isn’t going to be entertaining. Especially as they have both come in light and fit so should both have energy”
Tag yet another great prediction up to Mystic Ferrett™! Yeah so it definitely wasn’t the most thrilling and exciting title fight I have ever seen but that isn’t to say it wasn’t interesting in it’s own way.
On Parker first, I’d just like to say what a class act he is. From start to finish I couldn’t help but warm to him and he gave a creditable performance against a better and bigger boxer. At 26 he can definitely come again; and I for one would like to see him fight AJ in a rematch some time with a ref who actually allowed them to fight (more on that later).
His hand speed looked good, and he took a couple of bombs, not too many so we don’t know if his “Granite Chin” claims quite stack up. And on the few occasions he showed ambition he made AJ look very messy in defence. But mostly what he did well was spoil; he made AJ look bad and that isn’t a criticism it was a skill. I hope he continues to get matched well and stay busy I’d like to see where he is in 3-4 fights.
On that ref then… sigh. It is always a shame to see ant sporting contest where the main topic of conversation is the referee. But honestly I just cannot understand what he was playing at. I suspect Parker will feel the more aggrieved; and actually being able to get in close may have given him some opportunities to hurt Joshua. The flip side being though I really think had he got in close and taken AJ into a war then, for this writer at least, he’d have been stopped. But both he; and the paying public, deserved the chance to see that and it was denied.
So AJ then. I’ve already seen loads of people BLT (why do I ever read BLT I do not know…. The Interweb is a sewer) criticising AJ for being a boring hypejob because he didn’t get the KO… Sigh…
Now I’m not going to pretend it was the most fun to watch bout I’ve ever seen. In some respects I’d argue that as a spectacle it was even worse than the Takam fight. But as a boxing performance? As that, AJ did really well.
Because of his profile, and his promoter, I think a lot of people are intolerant of AJ learning on the job, but having won the title in his 16th Pro bout that is what he has had to do. We saw something new last night from AJ.
Firstly his jab, whilst far from perfect, was excellent. It was accurate, had snap, and Parker didn’t know how to handle it. A lot of boxers with less durability than Parker would have been hurt by that jab last night leading to openings for AJ to jump on them. Now I’m not saying he was jabbing like Lennox or Larry Holmes or anything. But he had the beginnings of what looked to me to be an elite level jab. If he keeps on working on that there won’t be many Heavyweights in the world that can get near him.
Secondly he showed really impressive ring generalship. He was in a unification fight against a risky, strong, younger, undefeated champion and he ensured that he controlled the pace, and the distance of the fight; AND the terms of engagement for virtually the whole bout. I gave Parker 3 rounds (5,6,7; and honestly I think 5 is generous to Parker). It might not have been thrilling, but it was impressive.
Thirdly he proved he has a 12 round engine and can pace himself throughout a fight. I think now he has done that he will know better how to expend energy and when; and I think his future bouts will be more entertaining as a result.
Lastly he showed an, albeit slight, improvement in his head movement. I think he is always going to be a static fighter, and this is likely to be his achilles heel throughout his career. But he had clearly worked on it and he was better; if still pretty poor.
I wasn’t entertained last night. But I was impressed. AJ keeps learning, keeps adding to his repertoire. Keeps getting better. And he was pretty good to start with.
I think he will need to better balance control and aggression in the future. But up too last night we’d not seen if he could do control, and if the exam question was “How do you use your superior jab and skills to control the ring, and cut your opponent off” then AJ passed with flying colours.
So what next? For the purposes of this blog I’m going to assume Tyson Fury is at least a couple of tune up fights away from AJ so that means Deontay Wilder. I was so disappointed he didn’t show up. Given his biggest issue is poor profile, and given the billing this fight had world wide (televised in 205 countries and live on Showtime Stateside) I’m astonished he ducked the chance to build his profile, and the fight. It makes you wonder how much he really wants it outside of Twitter and YouTube interviews.
I think you genuinely have to question him on this. Apart from forced mandatories he always takes the path of least resistance; which whatever you think of AJ you can’t accuse that of him. Wilder is talking about fighting Breazeale next… c’mon…..
Having said that I suspect he will take some positives from watching last night. AJ looked, messy, when retreating and Wilder will feel with his reach he will negate the biggest advantage AJ had over parker. Wilder probably doesn’t have anything like the hand speed that Parker has; but he is definitely quicker on his feet and around the ring so will believe he can close the distance better, And unlike Parker he will know (as will AJ) that he has the power to end it in one punch at any point in the fight.
But… he doesn’t have anything like the technique of Parker or AJ. His defence is much more porous than Parker’s and his chin isn’t nearly so rock like. He is going to ship powerful jabs going in and I for one think that will be his undoing if he fights AJ.
Wilder will always have a puncher’s chance against anyone. He is genuinely the most devastating one punch KO artist in the world. But I increasingly think he is a paper champion who is likely to get dethroned by the first really good fighter he faces. Old Man Ortiz nearly did it. I think Parker would do it. Fury would definitely do it. And when it comes down to it I expect AJ will.
My guess? Wilder doesn’t actually want that fight at all, except in a “cash out” sense.
We shall see huh?
Also published on Medium.