Up a notch for Parker
You win some you lose some – such is the way of sport as Lupesoliai La’auli Joseph Parker powered to a hard fought victory over his opponent Carlos Takam on Saturday night.
He would have won a lot of fans with the proud announcement that he was from both New Zealand and Samoa. This was followed by singing of the national anthems of both countries.
And if the young boxer was not able to win by his trademark knockout, most of his fans would have still been pretty happy with the fact he came out the victor over the toughest opponent he has been matched up with to date.
Carlos Takam was definitely several classes above those who had been previously matched with our favourite heavyweight.
In the pre match hype and build up of Parker in his previous successes, it was almost embarrassing to see how slow and lacking in skill some of his earlier opponents had been and how easy it looked as Parker sat them one after another, on the canvas.
Still that careful buildup was obviously part of the plan.
On the other hand, Takam stalked Parker around the ring relentlessly, landed more than a few good punches as he did so, and showed little reaction to those he received.
When he hit the canvas it was from slipping not from being unable to take the punch and absorb the pressure.
And if he didn’t have the speed of Parker, he made up for it as he took the fight to the younger boxer and gave Parker fans a few nail-biting moments as he showed his ring experience had not been diminished by his age.
In those rounds, Parker seemed to lose the plot for minutes and in fact looked as though he was tiring.
But with the steady build up of weeks of intensive training Parker rallied showing he is no longer the fresh-faced young hopeful of previous fights. And if there were moments when he chose the wrong option to counter Takam, he was patient and produced moments of brilliance with his speed and skill.
Both before and after the bout, he displayed a calm, confidence dealing with the media, and his generous nature as he acknowledged his family and those who are working with and for him.
The mental toughness which is now apparent will be vital as he makes his way through the coming fights on his way to his dream, our dream, of him getting his world title shot.