Joseph Parkers win over Brian Minto in Auckland last night showed how far the young heavyweight might go. Suddenly it looks like there is no heavyweight in the Pacific basin who might beat him. Not only is he continuing to hone rare boxing skills but also to display 'ring intelligence' and 'savvy.' I've written about the potential of Parker's relationship with Kevin Barry before. For the first time since their time together as coach and pupil did we see the finer hand of Barry moulding the younger man. In particular Parker controlling his natural inclination to 'mix it up.' In a little over a year he's become a more disciplined boxer who doesn't readily go into the alley but who however remains disciplined and uses his strengths rather than mixing it as a brawler at times.
Parker readily showed the deficiencies of the aging Brian Minto. For those that might remember Hollyfield 'bullying' Tyson - Parker took a page out of that book, literally bullying and muscling Brian out of the match. He also once again showed his power and his continuing to improve left jab. He showed little vulnerability and opponents in the future will know that Parker has come of age with experience and improving skills. I think his jab will become devastating and the cornerstone of his style as it should be with a taller, quick fighter.
No cuts last night as he learns to stay out of the way of potential head-butts. If anything we saw that Parker now deflects the brawlers elbows, head butts and hooks by effectively using his strength and tying them up before moving back to his distance and bringing his jab into the fray once again. We also saw the 'fine tuning' that Kevin Barry, and we fans, must enjoy - a heavyweight using and continuing to define his skills. How many times we heard that the redoubtable David Tua was adopting new techniques while with Parker he simply shows them in the ring. Some punters would have noticed that as Parker tied Minto up at times he looked toward his corner as though to confirm his adoption of not only Barry's fight plan but that it was working. Also to note was that he is capable of listening to instructions between rounds and that he is very smart and open to learning. Complete those with his natural attributes and New Zealand has the classiest heavyweight perhaps the Country has produced.