Barry just wants Parker to get the job done
Kevin Barry wants an early night tonight.
Barry's young charge Joseph Parker will take on Afa Tatupu tonight in a New Zealand heavyweight title matchup and Barry isn't all that fussed about it going the distance.
Tatupu is the current holder of the bout but everything and everyone is pointing to a victory from 21-year-old Parker as he looks to keep his clean professional record.
Parker weighed in yesterday at a sharp looking 104kg, up 2kg from when he destroyed Frans Botha in his last outing, and he will have a 5kg advantage over Tatupu.
In Parker's six professional bouts to date he has been past the third round just once and with tonight's matchup scheduled to go 10 rounds there is a thought that it might be good for Parker's development to be taken into some of the later rounds.
Barry, however, wasn't all that interested in that kind of talk.
When asked if he would be happy for Parker to be pushed late into the fight the answer couldn't have been clearer.
"No," he said."We want to finish it early if there is a chance to finish it early."
"It is a 10-round fight and we've trained for a 10-round fight. We've got a plan and if the knockout opportunity comes it needs to be taken.
Parker echoed Barry's thoughts saying the 130-plus rounds of sparring had prepared him to handle 10 rounds.
However, the reality is the fight is unlikely to see round 10.
"I know that if either of us land a good punch it is going to be interesting and will probably end early," Parker said.
Parker comes into the bout as a short-priced favourite and expectations are for him to make another statement with a convincing win.
Added to the pressure is the hypeof a million dollar matchup with Sonny Bill Williams.
Just to add to it legendary boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan lumped even more pressure on Parker this week when he suggested he would certainly become the heavyweight champion of the world in the coming years.
Barry admitted he wasn't all that comfortable with those comments. "I don't really like those comments, it is flattering but Joseph knows he's got a long way to go."
Parker does looks ice-cool under the bright spotlight and said he needed to remain humble to ensure he stayed on the right track.
"I'm happy that people think good things of me but for me, I just need to keep grounded and not let them get into my head and just focus on what I can do. I'm grateful for my parents and my friends around me who do keep me grounded and remind me of what is important to me."However, It was an undercard matchup which overshadowed the ParkerTatupu weigh-in in Auckland yesterday as the tension almost boiled over a day too early.
The media turned up to see what sort of shape Parker was in for tonight's clash.
But it was a push from giant 2.16m American Julius Long on his opponent Jason Williams which added some spark to the traditional boxing ritual.
Long towered over Williams and sent him backwards with a strong push which obviously angered fellow heavyweight Williams.
Williams wanted to go on with it and had to be restrained by his trainer and support members.
Long has been in New Zealand sparring with David Tua to help with his matchup with next month.
Long, 36, said it was a tactical move to put Williams off his game.
"The little shove thing was just to get him off his edge, to let him know 'hey, your in a fight[tonight], I took the edge off myself now I've got him angry," Long said.
- © Fairfax NZ News