Good old boxing. Sometimes it manages to knock itself out.

Case in point: Duco Events, Joseph Parker's management team, saying they may appeal the head clash that clearly hindered Parker's efforts last weekend.

Case in point: Whyte's post-fight claim that he beat Parker after suffering a broken hand and a broken rib, the implication being he carried those handicaps into the ring – and still won.

Case in point: How Kiwi fans and some sportswriters, most with little knowledge of the fight game, turned on Parker and trainer Kevin Barry, bemoaning his lack of "mongrel".


The "appeal" (the speech marks are because there is no appeal process) is a crock. I suspect the only reason it was mentioned was to keep the publicity pot boiling as they search for the best way to get Parker back in circulation.

In boxing, all publicity is good publicity. You can say the same about Whyte's broken bones claim. Oh yeah, Dillian? Are you sure you weren't in a wheelchair too?

His claims seem dubious because fighters call off bouts if they are suffering from broken bones. This smells like more publicity, designed to add to the tough guy legend of Whyte, the man who apparently once dug a bullet out of his leg using a pair of pliers and a cigarette lighter in his bad boy days. Hmmm.

Instead of an appeal, Duco could have called for video refs in boxing. Why not? It was clear on TV in a matter of seconds that the head clash was not a knockdown. If the ring ref had called that properly, the eventual points decision would have gone in favour of Parker.

As with all sport, however, you can't conclude Parker would have won. Who can say that Whyte would not then have gone into overdrive and clattered Parker with a bomb earlier than that ninth round left hook?

But the point remains: a video ref could have righted the wrong without halting the action. Reviews could be held between rounds. And Whyte was guilty of a lot more points-subtracting action: hitting after the break, hitting below the belt, hitting on the back of the head, using forearms to the throat, leading with the shoulder. It would help clean boxing up so, at heavyweight level, it is less about the brawling and bullying tactics Whyte used to sap the smaller Parker's energy – and more about the science of boxing.

Duco, Parker and just about everyone graciously allowed Parker lost to a better fighter on the night. So later talking of an appeal smacks of insincerity and opportunism. Then again, there has been more weird nonsense talked about this fight than I can remember for a long time.

The referee gets in between the two fighters after Dillian Whyte knocks Joseph Parker to the floor. Photo / Getty Images.
The referee gets in between the two fighters after Dillian Whyte knocks Joseph Parker to the floor. Photo / Getty Images.

Here's something all fans and a few sportswriters can remember: Do not believe anything – anything – said before a bout. If you seek truth, you'd be better off talking to a drunk Nigerian scammer or, even better, believing everything Donald Trump says. Before a bout is where boxers and their connections mislead, confuse and build up anticipation.


Like Parker saying he was going to be more aggressive and bring some mongrel to his style.

There is no universe in which Joseph Parker would have won that fight if he'd dialled up his inner "mongrel" and gone to war with Whyte. He is not a one-punch knockout man. His only hope was to get on his bike; to stick and move, using footwork and hand speed to unsettle the bigger man and make him miss – and thus take risks.

Later in the fight was the time to attack, bringing in the combinations. As it was, he nearly had Whyte in the final round. But it wasn't enough.

Parker should have coped better with Whyte's bulling and pushing; clever fighters slip out of those situations. Parker was too flat-footed and didn't do enough in the middle rounds, possibly affected by the head clash. That's another thing that could be righted by a video ref, if it was judged a fighter needed time to recover.

Parker's was a brave showing. All that twaddle about needing more mongrel is a sideshow. He is a chilled, open-natured Kiwi who always looks embarrassed when the trash talk is flowing; he finds boxing's bullshit uncomfortable. Don't mistake that for lack of grit.

Did Sugar Ray Leonard need more mongrel when he forced a real mongrel, Roberto Duran, to utter the famous "No mas [no more]" surrender? Did Muhammad Ali need more mongrel when he pulled off rope-a-dope against George Foreman? Did Lennox Lewis against almost everyone?

Watch Leonard against Duran (their second fight), his footwork, his speed, his ringcraft.

He demoralised the tough-as-teak Panamanian, slowly bled the mongrel out of him by hitting him and then moving where he couldn't be hit back. That's the art of boxing.

The mongrel might beat the thoroughbred sometimes, perhaps even often. But let's not crucify Parker just because his game is to win with technique rather than bullying tactics.

He may not be Sugar Ray Leonard but he needs to do it better – and maybe a video ref is needed to help boxers like him do that instead of also having to combat the ref in the ring, home fans and poor decisions.