A Real Rumble: Parker vs Bergman

By Seti Afoa ,

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"HE HITS HARD": Bergman, acknowledging Lupesoliai's win said he was surprised at his speed and power. (Photo: Seti Afoa)

The media scrum in the backrooms of Gym 1 following the Rumble in centre ring at Gym 1 was a revelation of sorts. The boy remains undefeated, though a little ruffled by the duration of the fight. 

The points were, Joseph Parker was proficient in his execution but there is work to do. Jason “the Ironman” Bergman was even more proficient in his plan to survive. Team Parker was surprised Bergman lasted eight rounds. And that there should have been four or five knock downs counted against the Ironman from Pennsylvania.   

This is the first time Parker has fought a left hander southpaw fighter, and he, Parker, was satisfied with his performance. It meant realigning to the new southpaw style of Bergman, and learning new combinations for this fight. 

The good thing was Parker landed a few powerful left hooks that lowered Bergman to the canvas. Normally, it is the right hook that does the talking for Parker, but less so tonight.

“It was good that my left hand did land as well, but I know that if my body was in the right position I could have done a lot more damage.” 

Coach and student worked well together, feeling a little frustrated mid-rounds Parker had to make an effort to take in Barry’s instructions.

“I am always looking to Kevin for guidance. When I get time in the ring when the referee is breaking things up, I am always listening to Kevin for guidance as to what he wants me to do.” 

In the early rounds, Bergman was in Parker’s ear, taunting him. 

“He was saying to me, “You’re big and you’ve got speed but you’re not hurting me.”  “But back in the corner Kevin told me not to worry about it and just follow the plan.” 

That plan was to stay focussed and to keep punishing the American with powerful body shots that would have brought down lesser men within five rounds. 

“I couldn’t believe how durable he was. He came to survive and he had those blinkers up constantly throughout the whole fight.”

“He knew that Joe was a powerful guy. I was really surprised that he lasted the time that he did, especially the body shots that he absorbed.” 

“There were a couple of times that he went down on one knee from the body shots but the ref. didn’t call him out on that. I think there were about four legitimate knock downs that should have been called.” 

There was another instance of the low head by Bergman every time he needed a break, but the astute Barry had done his bit of hinting at some shortfalls in the officiating on the night.

“There were a few things, like the head was down low continuously but I am not going to complain about the ref.” 

Then he steered the focus directly back on the positives. 

“Like this was a great fight to bring to Samoa. We said we were going to bring a good fight for the people.”  “We chose a southpaw fighter because it was going to be a challenge for Joe. It was a bigger challenge than what we thought.”

“The southpaws are awkward, especially the ones that don’t come to fight, so it’s even harder. He (Bergman) was a survivor.”

But it was not all Bergman’s doing. Barry hinted at some work ahead.

“Joe got frustrated at times; he got in too close at times. It’s something we have to work on

“It’s all part of the learning curve, and something we have to work on to stay more composed and not get frustrated in longer fights.”   Bergman on the other hand spoke of Joe’s speed and power. 

“I was surprised, not by his style, by his speed and his power,” he said after the fight. 

“He hits hard! He hits hard!” 

Bergman expressed his disappointment that the fight did not go the full 12 rounds. 

In the end, Parker needed eight rounds to do the job. His camp predicted three earlier in the week.  The winner, and still the “Champion” was Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker, oh, and Boxing.  That was a real Rumble in there.  It was a great night. 

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