Whatever happened to the long-gone good old days when a boxer let his fists do the talking instead of the trash spouting out of the mouths of the modern fighters?
It was sad to see a nice guy like boxer Joseph Parker follow the lead of manager David Higgins and coach Kevin Barry engaging in what looked like a terrible B-grade movie leading up to his London heavyweight fight against 18st 6lb brawler Dillion Whyte who, last Sunday, beat him on a unanimous points decision.
Two knockdowns against a Kiwi Samoan who had never hit the canvas before didn’t help Parker’s cause, although the first in the second round had more to do with an illegal head butt the referee failed to penalise.
That left Parker stunned for a few rounds. But it didn’t explain his listless effort for too many more when he blamed himself for not sticking to Barry’s game plan, whatever that was.
However he showed he could take a punch when he bravely got to his feet after being decked in the ninth with a short, powerful left hook of David Tua proportions.
Whyte continued to brawl and maul until, in desperation, Parker dropped him with a stunning right in the 12th round. Unfortunately, with 30 seconds remaining, it was too little too late.
Having lost his world heavyweight WBO crown to Britain’s Anthony Joshua in his previous fight in which he was said to have earned around $12 million, Parker will be fighting for relative peanuts in the near future.
However he’s done well to get so far, even though he didn’t have to dethrone anyone to win a title left vacant by the troubled Tyson Fury.
At 26, he’s not necessarily the spent force his critics claim he is. However he will need to tighten his defence, build his stamina and sharpen his combinations if he wants another crack at a world title.
It would also be nice to think his camp button their lips instead of engaging in the trash talk promoters like to think puts bums on seats.
It worked with someone possessed of the unique wit and boxing skill of the late Muhammad Ali. But Honest Joe appeals more by just being himself.
Meanwhile the drums are beating for Richie Mo’unga to be given an All Black No 10 jersey ahead of Beauden Barrett after his brilliant Christchurch semi-final performance in the Crusader’s 30-12 Super Rugby win against the Hurricanes.
It seems a tough call on Barrett who, for the past two years, was named International Rugby Player of the Year. But Mo’unga has undoubtedly headed the gifted Hurricane star and the Chiefs’ electrifying Damian McKenzie as the country’s top No 10.
Admittedly he does have the advantage of an All Blacks pack with 400 caps but nobody reads the game better in taking the best options available to him
Having won 14 of their 16 games before the playoffs compared with the Lions nine, the Crusaders are favourites to win Saturday night’s final on home turf.
However having shown their class in their decisive 44-26 win against the Waratahs after going to the break at 19-19, the Lions should not be underestimated, especially with stars like dynamic flanker Kwagga Smith and powerful hooker Malcolm Marx.
– Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer and author