By Dan Ambrose: A very slow and sluggish-looking former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) labored to an unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision over #5 WBO Junior Fa (19-1, 10 KOs) on Saturday night at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
Although Parker was taking the fight to Fa the entire 12-round fight, he wasn’t landing, and he was tagged with shots. Surprisingly, Fa showed respectfully quick hands for a fighter his size, but he didn’t possess the stamina to throw more than one or two shots before tying up Parker.
In the 12th round, Fa nailed Parker with four consecutive uppercuts to the head while holding onto him in the clinch. Parker’s head snapped back repeatedly with each big uppercut that Fa hit him with.
Fa looked like the better fighter
Parker 29 was given the judges’ nod by the scores 119-109, 115-113, and 117-111. Boxing News 24 had Fa winning 115-113. Parker didn’t do much and was getting tagged repeatedly by the bigger 6’5″, 260-lb Fa while on the way in all night.
If you were a Parker fan, you had to be concerned with what you saw from him in that round and during the entire fight. The 29-year-old Parker looked like he’d aged considerably from the heavyweight that he’d been during his best years.
We saw no adjustments from the former WBO heavyweight champion Parker during the fight, as he would slowly plod forward, throw wild shots, miss, and get tied up by Fa.
Parker appears to have lost a lot of hand speed since his consecutive defeats against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018. He looked nothing like the fighter that had lost those fights against the British heavyweights, and it’s unknown if he can get it back.
It’s possible that the long layoff from the ring for Parker during the pandemic has robbed him of his speed and stamina. That’s certainly a possibility, but it was troubling how slow and lethargic Parker looked even in the early rounds.
I mean, Parker was fighting like he was in a swimming pool, throwing slow punches and getting lit up by the bigger, faster Fa. You would think that if that it were just a stamina issue with Parker, he’d at least show hand speed in the first couple of rounds, but we didn’t see that tonight. Parker just looked slow and very, very old.
Fighting Chisora would be a bad idea for Parker
The way Parker fought tonight, he should think twice before taking the fight against Dereck Chisora. Parker loses that fight if it happens next, in this writer’s view. Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) is faster, more powerful, and he’s got a better engine than Parker.
The British heavyweight also has a better punch output and a more aggressive. Parker’s management should avoid the Chisora fight and take some easy fights against bottom feeders in the top 15 rankings with the WBO.
At this point in his career, Parker can’t afford to get beaten by Chisora right now because that would wreck his chances for another world title shot. It’s already been three years since Parker last fought with a world title at stake.
If he gets beaten by Chisora in 2021, it’s going to be a lot longer than three years before he gets another chance at a world title.
Source: Boxing News 24