With World WBO boxing champion Joseph Parker signed to face WBA and IBF champ Anthony Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on March 31, it would have been more appropriate to have held it a day later on April Fool’s Day.
For that was the best way to describe some of the trash talk Parker and his promoter David Higgins engaged in when attempting to denigrate the powerful Englishman.
It’s a shame because Parker has always impressed as being a good guy who preferred to let his fists do the talking before he called Joshua the steroids king in retaliation to Joshua jokingly dubbing him the “king of pies”.
Later he admitted he didn’t know whether the chiselled Joshua did take steroids but said his physique suggested he might.
The facts are that, as amateurs, Joshua went on to win the 2012 London Olympic super heavyweight gold medal whereas a disappointed Parker failed to make the New Zealand team.
As a professional however, under the guidance of David Tua’s former manager Kevin Barry, he has a fine 24-0 unbeaten record. But he has not been so impressive in recent defences which went the full 12 rounds.
Yet he and Barry are confident he has the style and speed to trouble the bigger Joshua (20-0] and reckons he has the better chin after Joshua was knocked down by former champion Wladimir Klitschko.
They conveniently forgot to add Joshua got up from the canvas to stop Klitschko inside the distance.
Can the genial Kiwi Samoan do the same before 80,000 British fans who will be baying for his blood?
Much as I would like to believe otherwise, I agree with the bookmakers who are offering head to head odds of $1.08 on Joshua and $6.50 on Parker.
With a guarantee of one-third of the gate, believed likely to be worth $12 million for Parker, he will still be a winner whatever the result.
Meanwhile what a pity a no ball last ball bouncer deprived Colin Munro, 49 not out, of equalling the international cricket T20 record of four consecutive half centuries at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Monday.
Munro could also blame his bowlers for routing Pakistan for 105 on a poor drop-in wicket with fill-in skipper Tim Southee leading the way with 3 for 13 and Seth Rance (3 for 26) and Mitch Santer (2 for 15) also on song.
In winning by seven wickets with 4.1 overs to spare, the Black Caps maintained their superiority over Pakistan following their 5-0 triumph in the ODI series.
It also brought their record run in all three formats of the game to a remarkable 13. And this latest without Kane Williamson and Trent Boult.
- Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer and author