Of Lupesoliai Joseph Parker’s doubters

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

There is no doubt about it. The court of public opinion is a vicious one. 

It’s also contradictory in nature. You see it’s as hard to fathom where the pendulum will swing just as it is easy to predict what people will say about certain developments. 

Ultimately at a time where everyone and anyone has something to say, and with access to forums to express such opinions widely available, the fact is it’s a free world where anything and everything must go. 

But sometimes you wonder though. 

Let’s take boxing for instance. It has been intriguing to follow the dissection of Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker’s performance against Conjanu last week. 

We don’t need to tell you the story anymore. You saw it; we all saw how it unfolded. Contrary to high expectations, Parker looked flat and yes the general consensus was that as heavyweight championship fights go, it was a boring one.

It’s hard to argue because it was hard slog to watch – especially when Parker’s opponent spent more time teasing rather than boxing.

It was a particularly tough given that that the previous week, another fight of similar ilk in another part of the world produced one of the most specular heavyweight fights of all time. Indeed the fight between Anthony Joshua and Klitschko will remain as one of the best in boxing for years to come. And that’s because it had all the hallmarks of a great fight. 

You had a young champion in the form of Joshua taking on the old dog who was attempting to make a come back. There were many questions to be answered which kept fans on the edge of their seats. One of them obviously was whether Joshua had the stamina, endurance and the ring craft to withstand the experience and power of someone like Klitschko, who had dominated the division for years. Being staged at Wembley with more than 90,000 fans, it was the fight of dreams.

All those factors built up nicely to the climax when the two men finally traded blows and what a treat it was for the billions of people around the world. In the end, all the questions that had been asked were answered. The bottom line is that while Klitschko appears far from finished, Joshua is the ultimate champion and he without an inkling of doubt the man to beat.

Now a week later in a smaller setting in Auckland, our very own champion Lupesoliai had his chance to impress. Having won the WBO title in controversial fashion last year, Parker still had many doubters. They doubted his power, finesses and winning ability. The fight last week was Parker’s chance to step up and prove those doubters wrong. 

The result is history now. Lupesoliai won and that’s all that matters. 

What’s interesting is the amount of naysayers who have immediately come out of the woodworks and continued to question Parker’s ability to be a champion.

Nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day you can’t please everyone. And yes Parker still has plenty of work to do. There is no question about that. He is a work in progress and we have not seen the best of him yet. Far from it. 

What we find irritating is unreasonable and ridiculous claims being made simply to discredit the work of this young man who continues to work hard to get better every day. 

Take for instance a piece by Frank Warren titled “Parker’s Limitations Were Exposed, Fury Will Win.”

It reads: “What a shame our man Hughie Fury sustained the untimely back injury that prevented him making the trip to New Zealand to challenge for the WBO world heavyweight title held by Joseph Parker. Had he stayed fit I am convinced we would now still be celebrating a new heavyweight champion and the second from the Fury family.

“Despite his current status, Parker isn’t living up to his early promise and I truly believe Hughie will have too much for him. There was a lot of name-dropping going on during the Saturday morning transmission on Sky, but you can forget about the likes of Tony Bellew or Dillian Whyte jumping the queue to fight Parker. 

“The WBO have made very clear that Hughie is the mandatory challenger and will be fighting Parker next – there will be nothing in-between. The financials for the fight can remain as they are or, if Parker’s team want to change it, we can negotiate or go back to purse bids. 

“We’ve got 30 days to negotiate if they want to give up their previous purse bid and if terms cannot be agreed then the bidding process will start again. The fight has to take place within 120 days.”

Well okay then. But let’s see. Keep in mind that Parker was not the one who pulled out last minute, it was Fury. Was his injury genuine? No one seems to know. He probably chickened out. Why then is Parker being unfairly criticised? 

The fact is obvious. Parker is not where he needs to be and he has certainly not shown anything outstanding for his doubters to keep their mouths shut. 

As hardcore Parker fans on these shores, it’s been tough to follow. But he is stepping up and he can only get better. If he eventually gets to Joshua and loses, at least he has done it and will walk away with his head held high. Something all his doubters can only dream of doing.

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!

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