In trying to either help promote the fight or put the lack of a neutral referee for Joseph Parker's WBO heavyweight world title bout squarely in the public eye (or both), David Higgins was trying to do the right thing in disrupting his man's press conference today.

But, unfortunately for him and Kiwi Parker, it backfired. After weeks of suggesting Team Fury were cowboys in the way they were organising Hughie's title challenge against Parker at the Manchester Arena on Sunday, now it is Higgins and, by extension, Team Parker, who looked naïve at the luxury Landmark Hotel in Marylebone.

That's not a great look for anyone, but spare a thought for Parker, who is attempting to raise his profile here as the WBO heavyweight world champion, an achievement he has every right to enhance through his own deeds and as a humble young man from New Zealand, one with proud Samoan roots.

Putting it bluntly, this circus, coming hard on the heels of the controversial draw between GGG - Gennady Golovkin - and Saul "Canelo" Alverez in Las Vegas at the weekend (despite virtually all pundits handing it to GGG), is another blow for boxing at the professional level.


There is no doubt that Higgins, a loyal friend of Parker's, has the 25-year-old's best interests at heart, but turning up late to your own press conference and making loud allegations at another team and promoter is probably not the way to do it.

It is clear he is frustrated at the British Boxing Board of Control's decision to appoint Brit Terry O'Connor as referee. O'Connor is a man who has refereed Fury before, and handed cousin Tyson a victory as the sole judge of a fight a few years ago - one that has lived long in boxing's infamy as a controversial decision.

Higgins said later that he had every right to pull Parker from the fight as Team Fury were in breach of the contract in appointing or agreeing to have O'Connor as the third man in the ring, but that will 100 per cent not happen.

It's an empty threat. The money might be in Duco's (lawyer's) bank account, but Parker and trainer Kevin Barry aren't about to turn and run now.

Fury pulled out of his scheduled fight with Parker in Auckland in May with a so-called back injury, but Parker is the world champion and he has a reputation to uphold and enhance. He knows it and the Furys know it. So does Higgins.

Parker will fight, and he should win. If he doesn't (and it would most probably be a defeat via a decision as most don't give Hughie much chance to stop Parker), there is likely to be a re-match clause.

Or there could be a change of heart by the BBBoC and a new referee appointed. In which case Higgins will feel vindicated - a case of the squeaky wheel getting the oil. It wouldn't be that clear-cut, though. His actions today didn't reflect well on anyone.