He’s still the world champion and it is all that matters

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

And so the circus that is the world heavyweight boxing division continues. 

With yet another “controversial” decision adding fuel to the fire, it is typical of what we have come to expect from the sport over the years, isn’t it?

After all, it wouldn’t be heavyweight boxing without the controversies, conspiracy theories and the drama that accompany the trash talking, shoving and eventually a few punches thrown. 

It makes for a good show because it sure keeps audiences captivated. They want to know what happens next and so forth. It feeds a human desire for drama.

The only difference for us is that today we have one of our very own in the midst of it all. He happens to be Samoa’s favourite son, Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker, who is the reigning W.B.O champion. 

On Sunday, he overcame his second challenger, Hughie Fury, in Manchester to retain his belt. The win has created so much controversy.

Who cares whether he impresses who and who or whatever? 

Why does it matter that people think he is not good enough to fight Anthony Joshua?  

Apart from former heavyweight champions, anybody else who questions this young man’s ability to be the W.B.O champion is not important. 

Why? No one has held the belt before. And they have never had the phrase “and still” uttered before their name is read out before millions of people in the world. Lupesoliai has earned his title. 

He’s worked hard; he’s been banged up pretty badly in and outside the ring for it and he deserves to be the champion.

Everyone saw Sunday’s fight and everyone will have an opinion – which is precisely what has happened. Every man and his dog out there reckon they know better and some unfortunately believe Fury should have won.

We find that outrageous. 

How could someone who spent 12 rounds of boxing running for his life win?

How can a “coward” who did his best to avoid Lupesoliai be worthy of a championship belt? 

If he had won, it would have been the biggest joke ever.

We all know it wasn’t Lupesoliai’s best fight.

Of course we all wanted the knockout. In fact, we wanted a real boxing show.

What we got instead was chicken who did everything possible to avoid standing toe to toe with a world champion. It was a dud fight for sure but it wasn’t for the lack of trying on Lupesoliai’s part. 

If anything, perhaps the World Boxing Organisation should come up with a new rule for heavyweight boxing to stop people like Hughie Fury running for 12 rounds. You should only be allowed to do that for at least three rounds and then if you continue, you should be disqualified. 

And for good measure, what’s the possibility of having Colonel Bob Sheridan, a real professional, call every fight? Those British commentators we heard from on Sunday were awful, they were clearly biased and definitely from another planet. It was unbelievable. 

Now coming back to Lupesoliai, we accept he is far from the finished product.

There is no doubt that he still has a lot of work to do. And it has everything to do with settling down; picking the right shots and not letting the occasion get the better of him. 

The problem is that when you promise something, then you have to deliver.

Lupesoliai promised the knock out and he spent 12 rounds throwing some very wild shots in the hope he would do it. It didn’t happen and that took him away from his usual composed self. 

Had he been a bit more relaxed and not really desperate to deliver the knock out he had promised, he might have found what he was looking for. 

But because he was dead set on flooring Fury, he not only exposed himself lunging forward with his head down, nearly gassed himself out too at some critical moments of the bout.

Patience is the virtue. And that should apply to Lupesoliai and everyone who have questioned this young man’s ability to be a champion since he hoisted that belt.

As a proud Samoan, I’m biased and I will say this much; Lupesoliai, whether he wins by knock out, points or whatever, is still our champion. He’s made us all very proud.

Not many people can lay claim to the W.B.O title. 

This humble young man has done it and he is continuing to learn as he goes. That’s life. When the time comes, if it ever happens given the nature of heavyweight boxing, he will deliver the knockouts. And that could well be against Anthony Joshua.

In the meantime, he shouldn’t have to worry too much about that. In sport, it is well known that you play the opponent in front of you. Parker can’t fight Fury and think about Joshua. That’s just ridiculous. 

So who cares? Today, he is still the W.B.O champion and that is all that matters.

Well done, Lupesoliai and Team Parker. Malo le tauivi. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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