Fury doesn’t do enough to beat the beat­able Parker, but the de­ci­sion leaves Hen­nessy spit­ting mad

Boxing News - - Contents - Ben Dirs

Hughie and co are not happy with the judges as Joseph Parker gets the nod

DO you pre­fer your heavy­weights to be on their bike for 12 rounds, flick­ing out in­ef­fec­tual jabs? Or do you pre­fer your heavy­weights to come for­ward like cave­men, swing­ing and mostly miss­ing? Granted, it’s not much of a choice.

After this show at the Manch­ester Arena, that glo­ri­ous spring night at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium, when An­thony Joshua and Wladimir Kl­itschko breathed great lung­fuls of hope into the heavyweight divi­sion, seemed al­ready of an­other era. At least Joseph Parker’s vic­tory over Hughie Fury, which meant the New Zealan­der hung on to his WBO ti­tle, came with a side of comic re­lief.

Mick Hen­nessy’s as­ser­tion that Fury’s per­for­mance had “shades of Ali” proved a big hit on so­cial me­dia. Ali G? Ali Os­man, the cabby from Eas­ten­ders? The Eng­land crick­eter Moeen? Pretty much any Ali but the great Muham­mad. Hen­nessy in­ad­ver­tently hit upon why his com­par­i­son was so ab­surd when he re­ferred to Fury “touch­ing Parker with his jab”. The peak Ali com­bined per­pet­ual back­wards mo­tion with blind­ing hand­speed, spite­ful com­bi­na­tions and gen­uine

knock­out power. Cleve­land Wil­liams didn’t look like he had been “touched”, while he lay flat on his back in Hous­ton. Nei­ther did Zora Fol­ley, while he lay flat on his face in New York. Nei­ther did Ernie Ter­rell, while he re­cov­ered in a hos­pi­tal bed, after a sav­age 15-round beat­ing.

That Hen­nessy should in­vite such ridicule was un­fair on Fury. There is much to be ad­mired about a heavyweight who moves so grace­fully, while be­ing stalked by a 245lb man. Un­for­tu­nately for Fury, the sight of a heavyweight slip­ping and slid­ing and do­ing not much else be­gins to lose its ap­peal after a few rounds, es­pe­cially when most of the jabs the Manch­ester fighter’s pro­moter were so en­am­oured with were ac­tu­ally land­ing short of the tar­get. There is no doubt that Fury made Parker look de­cid­edly or­di­nary at times. De­spite a 17-month sab­bat­i­cal, the home fighter looked sharp and elu­sive in the early stages, land­ing with a clever right-hand counter in the sec­ond be­fore re­peat­ing the dose in the third. There fol­lowed a left up­per­cut in the fourth, be­fore a clash of heads opened a cut over Fury’s right eye.

Parker be­gan to close the dis­tance in the fifth and found the tar­get with two club­bing over­hand rights in rounds six and seven, as Fury be­gan to tire. A Parker left hook, fol­lowed by an­other right, had the chal­lenger hold­ing on in round nine, by which stage it was be­gin­ning to make for frus­trat­ing view­ing for the Fury faith­ful: hav­ing proved he had the req­ui­site whiskers to take a solid Parker shot, why wasn’t Fury tak­ing more chances down the stretch?

The chal­lenger soaked up an­other cou­ple of humdingers in round 12, and after the fi­nal bell sounded, it was dif­fi­cult to know whether the un­a­ban­doned cel­e­bra­tions of Fury’s team were jus­ti­fied or merely the re­sult of wish­ful think­ing. There were jour­nal­ists ring­side who thought Fury was the vic­tor, oth­ers who had Parker nick­ing it, oth­ers who had Parker win­ning it com­fort­ably. For the record, this jour­nal­ist awarded it 116-112 to Parker. Es­sen­tially, the judges had a choice: vote for the man who landed with not a lot on the back foot, or the man who landed with not a lot on the front foot. Cer­tainly, the scorecard that read 114114 (from Rocky Young) seemed most re­al­is­tic. But that two of the judges (john Mad­fis and Terry O’con­nor) had the Kiwi pre­vail­ing 118-110 was surely not, as Hen­nessy claimed, “cor­rup­tion at the high­est level”, but sim­ply a ques­tion of in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Some will won­der how Tyson Fury, Hughie’s cousin, man­aged to swing a de­ci­sion against Wladimir Kl­itschko in Ger­many, hav­ing not thrown much ei­ther. But there was an ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence: Kl­itschko barely threw any­thing in



HUNTER v HUNTED: Parker [left] tries to pin down Fury

FU­TURE ECHOES? At times, Fury [above, right] looks like a cham­pion in the mak­ing as he be­witches Parker

NOT HAPPY: Tyson [left] can­not be­lieve his ears as the de­ci­sion goes against his cousin

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