Parker bout tips the scales of credibility
It won't be a pretty sight when Terry Tuteru enters the boxing ring tonight to fight Joseph Parker and it's almost certain to be worse when he leaves it.
The much-hyped Parker is labelled ''the next big thing" among New Zealand heavyweights.
Tutera is simply "a big thing".
He tipped the scales at 167kg at yesterday's weigh-in - a massive 61.5kg more than Parker who will fight at about the same weight he was for his professional debut in July.
The much-hyped Parker has quickly discovered how farcical the pro scene can be in New Zealand.
He was set down to fight Hiriwa "T-Man" Te Rangi at Trusts Stadium in west Auckland tonight but the Southland veteran was discarded because of safety fears after 13 consecutive losses.
Tuteru, 30, has been dragged in at the last minute and brings a pro record of nine losses and one draw. He hasn't fought since May 2007 when he was knocked out in the second round by Aussie rugby league star John Hopoate.
This looms as a fight that will bring the credibility of the sport into question again.
It should certainly raise eyebrows about his backer and outspoken boxing critic Sir Bob Jones, as well as his new promoters, Duco Events.
For his part, Parker was full of grace when asked about his giant opponent.
"He's a big unit and he's going to come chasing me. He looks like one of those David Tua-style fighters. I've trained and tried to prepare myself for different styles. It's going to be interesting," Parker, 21, said.
He brushed aside the difficulty of adjusting to a new opponent.
"In boxing, things sometimes don't turn out the way they are supposed to turn out. So you have to prepare yourself for any situation. I'm just thankful for Terry jumping in at the last minute. I know he is going to come ready.
"I don't know too much about Terry because he hasn't been in the ring for a while. I'll take it as it comes. He will come with his style and I'll come with my different style. We'll just see what happens.
"My training has been good. I've been training really hard with my coaches. I've lost a bit of weight but I've got a bit of power so I'm feeling quite good."
Asked why he had taken this fight, Tuteru, who has dabbled in kick-boxing and runs a small gym in south Auckland, said: "I always wanted to get back into the ring. I just want to have a go with the young stars these days.
"Maybe this is the start of my career comeback. I want to get back in the ring and test what I've got."