Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Patrick McKendry: Joseph Parker's promoters must keep cool heads in midst of break-up

Now, more than perhaps at any other stage during Joseph Parker's professional career, is the time for clear thinking by his promoters Duco Events.

The company's co-directors David Higgins and Dean Lonergan are under enormous stress trying to hold things together in the midst of what is effectively a divorce; their business relationship at an end due to irretrievable differences and with millions of dollars at stake now and in the future.

The company, built from scratch by Higgins, is effectively being carved up and at the middle of it all is the undefeated Parker, a hot ticket in the heavyweight division who will be expecting big pay days in the short term after surviving some big challenges in and out of the ring over the past five or so years.

He has made some big sacrifices, including spending most of each year away from his close family (which now includes a baby daughter) while he trains in Las Vegas and, having seen the sort of paydays that Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko got recently, will be entitled to want something similar.

And that applies too, to Higgins and Lonergan, the Kiwi pair who have taken enormous financial risks to get where they, and Parker, are today.

Parker's options are probably three-fold; go with Higgins, with whom he is close, go with Lonergan, now based in Brisbane as he puts on the world title fight between Jeff Horn, a fellow Duco fighter, and Manny Pacquiao, or go with someone else like Bob Arum in the United States.

In the meantime, WBO heavyweight champion Parker awaits the announcement of his next opponent which is likely to be either Tony Bellew or Hughie Fury, and probably the latter due to the WBO's insistence that the Englishman remains the mandatory challenger to Parker's world title.

The WBO have told Duco that they must enter into negotiations once again with Fury's promoter Frank Warren within the next 30 days for a fight that must be held within the next 120 days.

That deal will need close attention and, with Duco and Parker having publicly stated that they don't see the New Zealander fighting at home again in the short term, and the Duco partners waging a battle between themselves, Warren will likely feel he has an advantage already.

It will come down to money, as it always does in professional boxing. That will be a major factor too in Parker's decision regarding who he wants as a promoter, and in Higgins' and Lonergan's favour is the fact that Parker's contract is something of a rarity in this cut-throat game. He is also considered a loyal individual.

It's understood that Parker is paid a retainer by Duco, and that his living and training expenses are taken care of. He is given win bonuses but gets to keep his purses, rather than share them with his trainers and others like many other fighters have to.

Fury would have been a big pay-day (a $2.4million purse for Parker alone) but for the Englishman's late withdrawal.

Bigger pay-days remain if the detail is done with proper care and attention.

Emotions are likely to be running high, but now is the time for clear heads.

- NZ Herald

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