Opinion: So those were the top two boxers in the world having a clash for all the titles? Is that what we watched? April Fools, writes James Nokise.
Keith Quinn called it. Hours before the fight, Quinn tweeted that, despite his heart going for Parker (and no one has ever really questioned Quinn's support of Pacific athletes) boxing lore foretold that "a skilled big man will always beat a skilled little man".
6'4 Joseph Parker is only "little" compared to 6'6 Anthony Joshua, but what what about that word, "Skill." Because the title fight we saw yesterday seemed to have very little boxing skill, almost as little boxing, and a whole lot of oversight from referee Giuseppe Quartarone.
As a unifying heavyweight title fight, heavy punches were overshadowed by heavy-handed officiating, at times so comical it was almost Commedia dell'punche. This wasn't Ali vs. Foreman, Tyson vs. Hollyfield, or even - that most fabled of fights - Tua vs. Lewis. It was JP vs. AJ for the WBF, IBF, IBO, WBO -
*ref interrupts… again
British commentators can't get the hang of not patronising their former and current colonies. Why did Parker needed Samoan and New Zealand anthems? Here's a clue guys - it's the same reason he's fighting an Englishman in WALES!! (the answer is literally "Britain").
There's painful shades, physical and emotional, in Parker vs. Joshua of David Tua's challenge for Lennox Lewis' title. Both went the distance (Parker being the first to take Joshua to 12 rounds), and both featured a Kiwi/Samoan vs. a charismatic Brit. They also featured frustrating changes to Parker/Tua's normal game.
Tua was a fast and skilled small man with a devastating left hook; like Mike Tyson, but infinitely safer for women. Parker's six inches taller, with similar power and arguably a more rounded skill set. Their questionable fight plans should be laid at the foot of their manager, the ever-questionable Kevin Barry - a man who's hairline is determined to make him look as sinister as he may well be.
*ref interrupts - crowd roars as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson runs into ring, "Rock Bottoms" the ref, drops his famous "People's Elbow", and takes over.
So, rematch? Damn Right! (also he has a re-match clause). The one thing fans appear to be agreeing on is that this fight was immensely unsatisfying. And satisfaction is key in the age of MMA and Wipe Out.
Also, fans seem to be rallying behind Parker, not at the expense of Joshua, but in the sense they feel the ref sold both boxers short, and are keen to see what each man can genuinely bring to the ring.
For Parker, that's a solid consolation. He's not only done his communities and countries proud by competing - he's raised our expectations beyond what we thought was possible. That in and of itself proves his worthiness to follow in the footsteps of past World Heavy Weight Champions - Boxing Gods (and Kevin Barry) willing, he'll have another chance very soon.