David Higgins better take the money and run after Joseph Parker steps up against an angry Anthony Joshua in Cardiff.

Parker will likely go down the way All Black lock Andy Haden toppled from a lineout in the same city 40 years ago, and in both cases, the fall from grace would be called self-inflicted.

If Parker does unravel, hell will have no fury like a nation who feels a young man with a chance of making history had tragically fallen into the wrong hands.

Joshua and his handlers have come across as composed and confident as Parker's manager Higgins positioned himself expertly as the Blunder From Down Under.


The Higgins-Parker show has been confused and contrived. The Parker campaign has lacked dignity and most importantly common sense.

The claims against Joshua, the denigration of his ability, have been made up nonsense about a fighter who beat one of the best, even if Wladimir Klitschko was past his best.

It has only got worse in recent days. If Parker had been willing to try to substantiate his steroids claim against Joshua, then this fight and the atmosphere around it would be on a different track.

Read more: Parker says he went 'too far' with Joshua steroids comment

What first appeared to those who didn't hear the initial interview as an extraordinary drugs-cheat claim against the man regarded by most as the best boxer on the planet turned out to be an offhand retaliation against a Joshua jibe - a line actually delivered by TV host Graham Norton.

Troops, there is a huge difference between claiming someone has eaten too many pies and suggesting an opponent is a drugs cheat.

While Higgins appeared surprised by Parker's steroids claim made in a Radio Sport interview, it is actually Higgins who has created the sort of circus which encouraged Parker to play like a clown.

If Parker ends up at Joshua's feet at grandiosely titled Principality Stadium, then much of the blame for this fiasco is going to end up at Higgins' door.


The Duco man, seeing himself as a superstar impresario, tried to take centre stage in London today, but was easily picked off by Joshua who knows a publicity stunt when he sees it.

Read more: Round one to Anthony Joshua

Joshua's manager Eddie Hearn had no trouble humiliating the Parker camp, taunting Higgins by declaring — quite correctly — that Parker's manager wasn't prepared to fully repeat his claims about Joshua when seated so close to the WBA/IBF heavyweight belt holder.

Higgins still had some hot air in his tank, unfortunately. When you consider the manner of Joshua's win over Klitschko against the way Parker has stumbled around most recently against training fodder, Higgins' claim that his fighter was mentally tougher is laughable.

Parker's fans can only hope that trainer Kevin Barry is running a camp at odds with the big top which the public is getting to see. The Parker strategy makes no sense, putting Joshua and his allegedly weak chin on red alert and totally desperate to avoid any humiliation.

It's hard to know if it is actually a strategy at all. Higgins' antics at a press conference last year came after he had imbibed alcohol. Parker's steroid-accusation bomb did not sound thought out at all, although intriguingly it must reflect conversations from behind the tent flap.


Higgins has now kept the vaudeville act going, feigning shock that his supposed analysis of an opponent had not been greeted well by the English boxing scene.

In other words, the grossly inexperienced Joseph Parker is in very new territory, in a strange land, and appears seriously distracted while dabbling with different personality traits as his date with destiny draws near.

Has any of this been okayed by trainer Barry, or is he even consulted? He is, after all, the only member of the Big Three in Camp Parker with any experience even close to this level.

The Olympic silver medallist was involved in maybe the most stunning sporting break-up New Zealand has witnessed, when his relationship with another heavyweight contender David Tua turned excruciatingly sour. Higgins and Parker are said to be close, but I wouldn't put money on that camp holding together either.