Joseph Parker's future flashed before our eyes as his manager David Higgins retreated sheepishly to his corner at a London press conference, powerless against the tirade of accusations coming his way.

Higgins was more rocky than Rocky, as a bored-looking security guard ushered him away after his confusing, accusatory, finger-pointing approach towards the top table while interrupting the speaker.

Gently pointed towards the door, Higgins put up the resistance of a well-oiled shopping trolley and the turmoil that unfortunate day included his childish claim he might pull Parker out Sunday morning's fight against Hughie Fury.

Parker's manager sees himself as an impresario, but he looked like a little boy lost.


Higgins may have a significant health issue. He appeared affected by the demon drink on his London debut, suggesting a deeper problem to address.

Higgins today admitted on Radio Sport to having had a couple of drinks before the daytime press conference, and that alone invites the rest of us to wonder how big those drinks were.

Whatever, it's not something Parker needs as he tries to shake off sluggish form and position himself for a big title shot and payday.

Forget Sunday morning's clash against Fury for a moment, because the nagging thought that Parker is in the wrong management hands turned into an overwhelming fear after Higgins' bewildering ramble.

With a blank look and sluggish movement, he punched thin air by taking on the British Boxing Board of Control, who weren't even within his gaze, over the alleged injustice of the original referee appointment.

A day later, the excuses came rolling out from Team Parker with everyone from trainer Kevin Barry to the extra-big extra Francois Botha and Parker himself being quoted on what a great job Higgins had done by standing up - to use the term loosely - for his man.

Spare us the forced jabber.

Higgins was not in full control as he approached the raised bench, inspiring a tirade of abuse from Peter Fury, Hughie's father and trainer.

The trouble for Higgins is that Peter Fury's disgracefully expletive-laden tirade suggesting Higgins was a babe in the boxing woods rang true.

Higgins' muted response only served to emphasise Fury's point, that he is out of his depth.

Yes, the referee has been changed, allowing Higgins to claim victory, but it still doesn't explain the way he went about his business in London.

Parker's career is not going as well as hoped, to be frank, and the break-up of his Duco management team has yet to provide any promise.

Parker has not fought so impressively of late, and there have been defeats out of the ring including the loss of home advantage to Hughie Fury, poor ticket sales in Manchester and an embarrassing change of arena in Auckland when a replacement was found for Fury.

Higgins has tried to cover his tracks in London claiming his theatrics were aimed at selling tickets.

If so why do it on "a couple of drinks".

Parker was certainly bemused by the show, which in itself suggests it was unplanned, and he immediately admitted Higgins' actions reflected poorly on the team.

A day later, the focus had changed.

"He (Higgins) definitely proved a point and everyone heard it so now I think everyone is aware," said Parker, amongst the little chorus of orchestrated praise for his boss.

Rather than confronting the real issue, as to why Higgins was drinking before such an important event, those around him have been turned into enablers.

And it makes you wonder at a lot of things, including the reasons for the break-up of Duco and how Team Parker will cope with whatever lies ahead.

Where he was once backed by the hard-headed Dean Lonergan, the business craft of Duco chief executive Martin Snedden, and the attendant, longstanding friendship between Lonergan and trainer Kevin Barry, Parker has been forced into cleaning up after his manager in a reversal of the typical sports controversy roles.

Snedden gave the old Duco camp tremendous credibility, and Lonergan is an amazing operator.

I have known the ex-Kiwi league forward since his playing days, when his nickname was "Cowboy".

In business he is anything but, every phone call, word, sentence, action being dispersed for a reason by a brave entrepreneur, and quite imposing figure.

Duco was an odd bunch of characters, but a formidable one.

It was never built to last.

Days away from the vital Manchester showdown, the truth has probably snuck out - the reputation of and confidence in Team Parker is dangerously close to being on the ropes.