Parker’s world crown was un­de­served, nee­dles Flores

Rotorua Daily Post - - Sport - Box­ing Patrick McKendry

Alexan­der Flores claims Joseph Parker was “gifted” his world heavy­weight ti­tle in a fur­ther at­tempt to get un­der the Kiwi’s skin ahead of their clash in Christchurch next Satur­day.

Parker won the WBO world ti­tle when out­point­ing Flores’ Amer­i­can-Mex­i­can coun­try­man Andy Ruiz in Auck­land two years ago. Ruiz ap­peared up on points be­fore Parker fin­ished strongly and was awarded a ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion vic­tory.

Ruiz claimed he won the fight, as did sev­eral of Parker’s sub­se­quent op­po­nents, and now Flores has chipped in with his own opin­ion days af­ter say­ing his 26-year-old op­po­nent had stamina prob­lems and was go­ing to be stopped at Horn­cas­tle Arena.

“Ac­tu­ally, he did lose to Andy Ruiz . . . ob­vi­ously he was gifted that fight, we know that for a fact,” Flores said in Auck­land af­ter ar­riv­ing from his Los An­ge­les base.

“I saw the fight again re­cently. Don’t get me wrong, it was a close fight but Andy edged it out.”

Ruiz, a tal­ented boxer with fast hands, has been spar­ring with Flores and will no doubt have pro­vided his spar­ring part­ner with valu­able in­tel­li­gence.

Flores sees Parker as a step to big­ger things; namely the op­por­tu­nity to be­come Mex­ico’s first heavy­weight world cham­pion.

He ap­pears con­fi­dent but a win over Parker, who has lost his last two fights, would be a huge up­set.

“He backs him­self,” Parker’s trainer Barry said of Flores. “He sat in my gym in Ve­gas about a week ago and said ‘you know, this is not go­ing the dis­tance. Joe is ei­ther go­ing to quit on his stool or I’m go­ing to knock him out’, and I’m think­ing ‘well, good on you for your con­fi­dence but An­thony Joshua couldn’t do it and Dil­lian Whyte couldn’t do it and we know that this guy isn’t a Joshua or Whyte’.”

Flores has won 17 of his 19 pro bouts but has never faced a boxer of the cal­i­bre of Parker.

“Joseph has more ex­pe­ri­ence than me on his record but ex­pe­ri­ence comes from spar­ring too,” Flores said. “When you are spar­ring with top con­tenders and world cham­pi­ons some­times you are learn­ing more in spar­ring than ac­tual fights. We have the best heavy­weights out in Cal­i­for­nia.”

The re­laxed Parker will prob­a­bly laugh off Flores’ com­ments and see them for what they are — an at­tempt by his op­po­nent to lift his con­fi­dence lev­els. For the New Zealan­der, the fight is an op­por­tu­nity to bounce back from his dis­ap­point­ments this year and show­case the in­tense power train­ing he has been fo­cus­ing on in this camp.

He’s say­ing lit­tle about Flores. “I don’t want to hype it up,” Parker said. “I know I’ve got the power to knock him out. I know I’ve got the power to re­ally hurt him. But I’ll leave that in the ring. Some­times when you say it and look for it, it doesn’t hap­pen. You’ve got to re­lax and let it flow nat­u­rally. When it does that punch will land and when it lands it will be dan­ger­ous and he’ll be cry­ing.”

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