Parker camp plans prelude to Botha fight

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2013

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Joseph Parker could fight twice more before a proposed fight with South African Francois Botha in late May.

Parker, 21, made light work of Aucklander Dontay Pati in Christchurch on Thursday night, knocking him down three times in the opening round of six for a technical knockout, but Botha, a 61-fight veteran, is a major step up.

The decision to match up with Botha, who has been in the ring with a number of world champions including Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, resulted in Parker parting ways with mentor Sir Bob Jones.

Jones told TVNZ the fight was a lose-lose for Parker.

"Fighting some lumbering oaf, coming swinging at him throwing wild punches - no he'll learn nothing from that," Jones said.

Dean Lonergan disagreed. The former rugby league international was in Christchurch to see Parker pummel Pati and said Botha was exactly the type of fight Parker needed.

"Firstly, we still get on with Sir Bob, we just had a difference of opinion," Lonergan said.

"Botha is experienced and durable, he's exactly the type of fighter Joseph needs to come up against.

"I don't know everything about any sport, but I know a lot less about boxing than rugby league, I'm the first to admit that, but people need to know we're talking to a lot of people about Joseph and what's best for him, not just making plans."

And Lonergan and Duco partner David Higgins are clever enough not to play into Botha's strengths.

"Against Sonny Bill, Botha showed how durable he is and was the better fighter in rounds nine and 10. If Joseph's fight with Botha goes ahead, then we're trying to make it eight rounds."

Lonergan said Parker had, "for want of a better term, replaced Sir Bob" with sports manager Bruce Sharrock.

Sharrock looks after Steve Price and Chris Masoe, among others and Parker's coach is Masoe's brother, former world title holder Maselino Masoe.

Fairfax has been told a deal with Christchurch boxing coach and Olympic silver medallist Kevin Barry was imminent, but Lonergan would not confirm anything.

He said he often spoke to Barry and would be silly not to, given his expertise.

There is the possibility of Parker spending time training and sparring in Las Vegas under Barry's watchful eye, but that came with a high price tag.

Meanwhile, Parker was just rapt to have come out of Thursday's fight unscathed.

Parker annihilated Pati in a flurry of blows, hardly working up a sweat, but was pleased to have had a blowout, proving to himself the fitness and strength work he had been doing of late was paying off. Fairfax NZ

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