Humility, very much like affinity to one's family, never left Joseph Parker's corner during the unification professional heavyweight boxing match against Anthony Joshua last Sunday.

Just as it was a given Parker had brought servility to a sport eminent for its trash talking and other peacock antics that go with all the pre-match hype, the points decision to the Briton didn't come as a surprise at all.

Just as Craig McDougall, the owner/trainer of the Giants Boxing Academy in Hastings, had alluded to before the fight, Parker needed something special to produce a great performance, not just a good one.

The South Aucklander didn't, something I noticed even boxing fans huddled at a drinking hole in Hastings that morning had resigned themselves to as early as round three.


Of course, the 26-year-old didn't disgrace himself in going the 12 rounds against a superior specimen in Joshua whose cocked right-hand reach negated the need for any hongi.

"Introducing you 2 the sweet science of boxing — Hit & don't get hit," the victor had posted on Twitter on April Fool's Day.

Enough said.

Blaming amateur Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone for the loss is pitiful but then you come to expect that from the keyboard warriors.

Did Quartarone separate the pugilists too often?

Yes but to suggest Parker would have somehow reversed his one-sided scorecard had he not intervened too often is absurd.

The days of the James Buster Douglas types stunning the world with a lucky punch against Mike Tyson come around with the frequency of Halley's Comet.

Parker came away with a lifetime's purse of $13 million but it'll be interesting to see how that sum is divided between him and trainer Kevin Barry as well as promoter and Duco boss David Higgins, not to mention the rest of the stable hands in Team Parker's corner.


You have to give it to Higgins, who had suddenly parted ways with former business partner Dean Lonergan, for taking Parker to a global threshold, which can quite often be a feat in itself in the murky world of professional boxing.

Yes, the promoter said things at times that made Kiwis cringe but perhaps he had to step up for a pliant Parker in a commercial jungle where talking trash is the going currency.

Ditto Barry who churned out copious amounts of material to fill countless pages of print media in New Zealand and internationally.

But is it time for Higgins and Barry, in particular, to do what Parker did?

That is, learn and grow from the experience.

Pulling out meaningless statistics, such as how Parker threw so many number of punches, and playing the blame game is counterproductive, to say the least.

The reality is the Kiwi fighter's game plan had shades of how David Tua had fared against former world champion Lennox Lewis, of England.

Like it or not, there was hesitancy from Parker to get in close to mix it up with Joshua.

Throwing wild overhead punches against a dexterous opponent was never going to work.

In the referee's defence, he had to prevent a grappling bout unfolding at Principality Stadium, Cardiff, to ensure 80,000 fans didn't go away even more disappointed.

Joseph Parker, left, just didn't have an answer for Anthony Joshua's superior reach during their unification heavyweight bout in Cardiff, Wales. Photo/AP
Joseph Parker, left, just didn't have an answer for Anthony Joshua's superior reach during their unification heavyweight bout in Cardiff, Wales. Photo/AP

On the occasions Parker chose to come on the inside a towering Joshua simply smothered him, a tactic that should be seen as part of ring craft not someone who is running scared.

Those who want to see blood and guts will perhaps have that opportunity when Joshua steps into the UFC cage although I'd like to think he's more intelligent than that, regardless of how much money will be on offer.

But I digress. If Barry truly wants to see Parker succeed then he needs to let the boxer go to other world-class trainers where he can hone his skills for a more tensile template.

He did everything he could for the fighter and also reportedly expressed frustrations on Parker straying from the game plan of not employing the "double jab" to get closer rather than resorting to single one despite his appeals in the corner just about every round.

Rewind the tape to Tua and you'll find there were similar suggestions that he too had "lacked courage" in jabbing and unleashing shots when it mattered.

The possibility that Parker could experience what former world champion golfer Lydia Ko or pop artist Lorde (dual New Zealand/Croatia passport holder Ella Yelich-O'Connor) had in switching lanes after success on their home soil is ever present. (In my opinion, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter/album producer has yet to produce a performance that matches her debut single, Royals, or album, Pure Heroine, since she parted ways with Kiwi Joel Little but time may prove me wrong.)

But that's a risk everyone takes in finding out what their potential is rather than not doing it and pondering on what-ifs a decade later.

Parker is still relatively young too but it pays to note it's poor performances that banish boxers to the lonely highway of becoming a journeyman, well before age.

It won't be easy for a boxer whose cultural values will nag at his conscience in embarking on a new route owing to a sense of betrayal and disloyalty.

No doubt Parker is a fine diplomat of New Zealand and Samoa, something financial backers here dropped the ball on when the opportunity arose to invest in him earlier.

It's still not too late.