Time for Parker to shed nice guy image… maybe his trainer too

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

We know this much. The world of heavyweight boxing is lucrative and dirty business both in and outside of the ring. And wherever millions and millions of dollars are at stake, people don’t care what they do to get it and how they do it.

At the end of the day, results matter, which means that a win is a win regardless. Those wins ultimately translate to millions in the bank.

Sadly for our beloved Lupesoliai Laauliolemalietoa Joseph Parker, that didn’t happen on Sunday morning when he fronted up against Dillian Whyte. It was his second loss in as many fights.

We don’t need to tell you what happened; we all saw the fight and we all have our opinions. The fact is Lupesoliai lost. He will now find himself at a stage where he will have to try and climb the ladder again, if he wants to get back into boxing’s big time. 

This fact was not a mystery at the beginning of this fight. We all knew that only one of the two boxers would advance their case for a more lucrative payday and another shot at those multiple world titles currently held by Anthony Joshua.

Is Parker done?

No. Not by a long shot. But he and his management need to make some very tough decisions. Those decisions include the question of whether he should continue with his current trainer, Kevin Barry.

After two fights now, there are times when you really have to question what Parker is being told at that corner and what his trainer has been working on. 

From the account of what we saw on Sunday morning, perhaps Barry has exhausted his ideas. Maybe Parker needs a new trainer to take him to another level. 

Whyte was clearly the winner. He wasn’t necessarily the better fighter but that’s beside the point. Better fighter and nice guys don’t necessarily become champion fighters. That’s because there is nothing nice about the sport of boxing. 

You have two guys in there whose primary objective is to knock the living daylights out of each other. There is nothing nice about what they are doing.

Which is perhaps where Parker lost this fight. Apart from the fact that at times he looked disinterested and that his mind was somewhere else, he kept trying to be nice while Whyte was anything but. Whyte was as dirty as they come. 

He pulled Parker’s head down, punched him in the back of the head, pushed him over the top rope and charged towards him, attempted to slide Parker’s head and neck along the top rope, leant over and on him in clinches, hit low, pushed his face away in clinches and shoved him into the ropes with his shoulder. And of course that headbutt.

Should we blame the referee? Absolutely not.

Parker needed to be more aggressive. If he showed the kind of aggression we saw from him on the 12th round earlier, there is no question about who the winner would have been. 

Whyte was lucky to survive that last round.

Which brings us back to the point about the future. Maybe it’s time for Parker to look at another direction in terms of his development. Maybe it is really time for him to find a new team, a trainer perhaps.

We know he can box and we know he can take the punches. Not many boxers would have recovered from the punch that floored Parker on Sunday but he did, came back and nearly won. He definitely has the chin and the mental toughness. You don’t survive these big fights if you are not mentally tough. 

 But how do you make someone hungrier? 

That is the question now, especially since Parker would have collected some money from his last two fights and maybe he feels he is set for life.

Come to think of it, could things have been different if Parker had this fight before he took on Anthony Joshua? What we are seeing today is perhaps the development Parker needed before he stepped up to the big time. 

While it’s sad that he lost, he needed to experience being banged up, floored and having to fight his way out of trouble to learn and get better.

Two losses might not look pleasing on his record but he is a better fighter today than he was yesterday. There is absolutely no disgrace in the manner he lost the fight. But the biggest question remains, can he be hungry enough to claw his way back up from what we saw on Sunday? Only time will tell. 

Have a blessed Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

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