Parker weighs in, ready to rumble
It was an unusual weigh in, quite unlike what we usually see out of some of the circus in the American boxing scene.
There was no animosity of words or dirty talking between the two fighters, Lupesoliai Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam.
Quite the contrary, Carlos Takam seemed more like a model of a man than a fighter. He wore a beautiful smile, and a disarming demeanour when he walked in first to be introduced to the media throng at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau.
Joseph Parker who followed a few minutes later also seemed harmless. He was all class too. He is the darling of New Zealand sport for the moment.
Yet Takam, quite unknown in these parts, complimented the peaceful aura at the arena. Not offering anything other than a soft face, and kind eyes.
He seemed too kind.
But come tonight, it will be anything but peace and quiet. The two fighters will bash the daylights out of each other without courtesies. Such is the importance of the mission ahead of each of them, to win the right to challenge Anthony Joshua for the IBF heavyweight battle.
The call is Parker will win, and outright, without question.
That is the view of veteran boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan.
“Parker can win this fight quite easily. I predict a Parker knock out,” the Colonel said.
There are also the odds, currently scary in New Zealand in massive favour of Parker. Those odds this afternoon had Parker at $1.22 to Takam’s $4.00. In other words, it is going to be a walk over.
Kevin Barry the sensible trainer however poured cold water on those odds.
“It’s Kiwis voting with their hearts. If anything the odds should favour Carlos Takam because of his experience and he has had 36 fights to Joseph’s 18,” said Barry.
Despite Barry’s caution, Parker is supremely confident he will win. When asked about winning or losing tomorrow he was emphatic on a definite win.
When asked in what round Parker did not know but he will do the business he said.
There is no denying too that Takam has earned Barry’s respect. Kevin Barry in talking up Takam refers to Takam as the gatekeeper of the heavy weight belt. He is the doorway through which Parker must enter in order to fight for the belt.
Colonel Sheridan has the same thoughts. He refers to the fight tomorrow as Joseph’s “graduation day”.
The final word on confidence is Parker’s, “I’m feeling a lot better and I have been training really well for this fight.”
“My combinations are a lot better and my movement too. It’s going to help me move on my feet in the ring.”
Parker feels that everything is right for this fight and his focus has risen to meet the challenge.
“I’m stronger mentally and physically in great shape tomorrow is going to be a great night.”
While Parker was on the mike with journalists everywhere Takam and his entourage were out the door. No interviews for him. We were told right at the start of the gathering that Takam would not be interviewing. But I did manage to catch him out back and requested an interview for the folks in Samoa. He obliged, in perfect French and that disarming smile.
That was only fair because I also had an exclusive two minutes of interview with Joseph Parker, in perfect Samoan. There was no sign of a war to come but of passive aggressive and confident words from him.
There is no more to be said by Parker or Takam. They have said it all through the week, Parker more than Takam. The next time they speak, it will be in the ring with gloves on. The best man will win and on his way to London to fight for the heavyweight belt of the world. The other will go home quietly.