The last opponent Joseph Parker stared down before today was Dillian Whyte.

In July, the pair touched foreheads and noses in a display in front of thousands in London's ever busy Spitalfields Market which carried genuine menace, a threat which became reality in their dramatic fight the next day.

The New Zealander's latest pre-fight pose with Alexander Flores in Christchurch this afternoon was a world away in terms of distance and dynamics, although that is an indictment too, probably, about how much ground he has to make up to get back to the top of the heavyweight division after consecutive losses.

Held before an audience of dozens in a flooring company's showroom (complete with children's play area) in semi-industrial Ferrymead, a short distance from the pleasant seaside village of Sumner, the press conference before their clash at Horncastle Arena on Saturday didn't get the adrenaline racing.

Advertisement

But it was respectful and it was good natured - both of which can be conspicuous absentees in professional boxing - and it included a good line from Parker with regards to Flores' comments about his liking for the coffee in New Zealand.

"People don't know who I am now but after December 15 they will know who Alexander 'The Great' Flores is," the American-Mexican, who is based in Los Angeles, said. "And I'm stopping Parker. This is not going to go 12 rounds. I love New Zealand, I love your guys' coffee. I have coffee here twice or three times a day."

To that, Parker replied: "Alexander looks in great shape. He's confident and he's here to win, but unfortunately I don't think that's going to happen. He says he's going to knock me out, I say I'm going to knock him out. We'll see who's going to do the talking in the ring. For me, after I knock him out I'm going to buy him a coffee."

Joseph Parker faces off against Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport
Joseph Parker faces off against Alexander Flores. Photo / Photosport

Parker always sounds relaxed before fights. He did before his world unification defeat to Anthony Joshua in Cardiff, which went 12 rounds, and again before his brawl with Whyte in London, another points defeat.

This time – fighting on home soil again in front of friends and family and with the endorsement of the Crusaders ringing in his ears after they watched him train and presented him with a red and black jersey this morning - he has every right to be.

"All the work and the talk has been done now," Parker told the Herald afterwards. "There's not a lot more to say. He's not like a Dillian Whyte-type – in your face, his tummy touching your tummy, trying to push you back. He's more relaxed, he has a similar approach to myself. Those types of fighters are dangerous fighters – they don't say too much, they enjoy everything and then when you're in the ring it's a different story."

So while Parker is relaxed, he knows the threat that Flores, with only one loss in 19 professional fights, represents. He knows too that he needs an impressive performance – a knockout at least – or the bigger fights and the more aggressive stare-downs will be memories only.

"We're in a position we've never been in before," Parker's trainer Kevin Barry said. "We're coming off back-to-back losses. We fought in two of the biggest fights in the world this year. We were beaten by very good opposition, and we're in a fight we have to win. Joe's fighting for his career. He's prepared very well. He understands the significance of this fight."