Parker vs Flores: Joseph Parker’s heavyweight fight with Alexander ‘The Great’ Flores has been rather ho-hum by comparison to the heights of marquee matchups in the UK.
Twelve months ago, Team Parker were weeks away from announcing a unification heavyweight title fight with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff – a fight the Kiwi would lose by a decent margin, but with no damage done to his stock.
In 22 fights, Parker is still the only man Joshua has failed to stop early and that gutsy performance in April lead to a title eliminator against Dillian Whyte in July. Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker has weighed in 1.3kg heavier than opponent Alexander ‘The Great’ Flores for their bout at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena on Saturday.
Needing a big knockout to resurrect his career, after consecutive losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, Parker tipped the scales at 109.25kg at the pre-fight weigh-in, compared to 107.95kg for Flores.
That’s half a kilogram lighter than Parker presented for the Whyte bout in July.
“This is the best Joseph has looked all year,” beamed trainer Kevin Barry. “Joseph knows what’s on the line in this fight.
In the main support bout, Kiwi Junior Fa, who looms as a local rival for Parker in the future, weighed in at 115.50kg, with Argentinian opponent Rogelio Omar Rossi at 101.45kg.
That’s not the biggest weight disparity on the card though. In the night’s opening corporate bout, Quinton Poole Nicholas will enter the ring at 144.35kg, almost 50kg heavier than rival Bjorn Horrack (96.45kg).
The super-welterweight encounter between Canterbury’s Bowyn Morgan and Fijian Sebastian ‘Sniper’ Singh has been rescheduled as a middleweight fight, after Singh missed the weight limit.
Whyte dropped Parker twice and despite a fast finish that almost produced a remarkable Parker victory, ‘The Body Snatcher’ won on all three scorecards, leaving the Aucklander in heavyweight limbo.
That place of darkness has Parker in a rough spot, where he needs to win and win well against an opponent that won’t raise any eyebrows.
Parker now finds himself at the bottom of the midpack, but one punch can change the trajectory of his career. As it stands Whyte, Luis Ortiz, Jarrell Miller, Kubrat Pulev and Parker are jostling for position behind the elite threesome.
Whyte should take care of Dereck Chisora later this month, which would likely lead to a March or April rematch with Joshua.
A Parker win on Saturday does nothing in getting among that mix, but it will make him an attractive option for one of the aforementioned heavyweights.
As a former world champion, Parker has name value, especially coming off a win, so expect the wolves to circle if the Kiwi knocks out Flores in Christchurch.
Three losses in a row is the death nail on the careers of most professional fighters. Parker will go from a former heavyweight champion to just another journeyman, if Flores upsets the Kiwi on Saturday.
Team Parker will go from positioning themselves for a shot at a top-five opponent to potentially chasing a fight with fellow Kiwi Junior Fa, who could be on the cusp of the WBO top 10 himself.
American Charles Martin was the IBF heavyweight champion in 2016, before suffering a devastating loss at the hands of Joshua. Almost three years later, Martin is all-but irrelevant in the heavyweight division.
The combination of a desperate Joseph Parker against a guy with the biggest opportunity of his career should lead to an exciting fight.
Make no mistake, Team Parker know they need a dominant win – not over 12 rounds, but inside three. The Kiwi’s desperation may leave him exposed to the powerful Californian, who has 15 stoppage wins in 19 fights.
Parker hasn’t had that knockout feeling since dismantling Alexander Dimitrenko in October 2016 – he needs a similar result on Saturday night or the journey is virtually over.