Former world light-welterweight boxing champion Ricky Hatton has delivered a knockout blow to Joseph Parker's hopes of fighting rugged Australian Lucas Browne in the near future.
Hatton, the British great, entered the war of words around his heavyweight Browne being scared of fast-rising Kiwi Parker, describing them as "laughable".
And Browne joined the action, declaring: "Rushing Parker against a banger like me is silly".
Hatton promotes "Big Daddy" Browne, a 31-year-old unbeaten fighter who Parker's handlers Duco Events have been taunting.
They have labelled Browne, a 125kg former cage fighter, as "fat, slow and scared", trying to lure him into fighting Parker with big money offers to no avail.
Hatton, who held the WBA, IBF, IBO belts before moving into promotions, contacted Fairfax Media to release a statement saying that Parker "isn't even on their radar" for Browne.
Parker beat little known American Keith Thompson last weekend with a third round TKO. The Kiwi holds the No 15 ranking with the WBO.
Browne is unranked by the WBO but is listed at No 7 by the IBF, No 8 by the WBC and No 13 by the WBA.
He is positioning himself for a world title shot and clearly won't risk that against Parker's power and fast hands.
"I've heard Parker's team say Lucas is scared of them, which is laughable," Hatton said in his statement.
"Lucas is willing to fight anyone if it makes sense and I think Parker and his team need to be more realistic.
"We're currently working on possible fights against Ruslan Chagaev, Derek Chisora and Tyson Fury, so why would we put Lucas in with someone who has had only 10 fights and isn't ranked anywhere by the WBC, the WBA or the IBF?
"Lucas is focused on the fighters above him in the ratings, not someone who is just making his name."
Hatton said he had respect for Parker's talents.
But timing is everything in a sport cluttered by so many governing organisations and positioning fighters becomes as crucial as fronting in the ring.
Browne holds the Commonwealth, WBC EPBC and WBA Inter-continental crowns which make him highly attractive to Parker's handlers.
"I don't want to sound like I'm running the guy (Parker) down because I respect everybody that gets in the ring and I wish him all the best in the future, but right now he's not even on our radar," Hatton said.
"If Parker is serious about challenging Lucas then he should try to get himself into a mandatory position for one of Lucas's titles.
"When Lucas wanted to be the Commonwealth champion, he travelled to the other side of the world to box a 6ft 9ins unbeaten fighter, Richard Towers, in an eliminator. Maybe Parker should do something similar."
Browne even entered the debate himself today as it raged on Facebook. He responded to a posting on Duco's page by saying: "You can say whatever you like? I'm a big fan of Parker and think he's a nice kid but to rush him against a banger like me is silly. Either way I'm signed with Hatton and they say what goes, talk to them."
Parker has remained in the United States with his handlers for talks with major television networks and promoters there.
His next fight is October 16 in Auckland against Sherman Williams of the Bahamas.
Duco have stated they are keen to get Parker a top 10 opponent to headline December's Fight For Life promotion in New Zealand.
Browne recently extended his unbeaten with a unanimous decision over Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko, who was himself undefeated in 24 contests before their fight in Wolverhampton, England.
Browne has 18 knockouts in his 21 wins.
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