Joseph Parker faces up to the 'White Buffalo'
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker got his first taste of the theatrical showbiz that accompanies boxing today as Francois Botha promised to deliver him a "rude awakening".
Predictably, there was no shortage of entertainment as the South African veteran arrived in Auckland to promote his fight with Parker on June 13, likely to be at Trust Stadium or Sky City convention centre.
Botha's shambolic and controversial loss to Sonny Bill-Williams in Brisbane, where the fight was shortened from 12 to 10 rounds, was a hot-topic, but eventually attention turned to what could be expected when the "White Buffalo" and Parker squared off.
Since turning professional, after a promising amateur career, Parker has easily taken care of four local opponents, while Botha holds a 48-9 record.
Under the management of Sir Bob Jones, Parker's fights were low-key affairs. Jones insisted his former prodigy was well presented and didn't want him having any tattoos.
Apart from the ink, that's all changed rapidly after Jones cut ties with Duco Events.
Frustrated that his efforts to slowly build Parker a respectable career were being undermined, Jones threw in the towel when Botha was lined up for the 21-year-old.
And it was fortunate the strong-minded Wellington businessman wasn't at today's media gathering - he would have cringed through the predictable taunts that saw the 44-year-old Botha repeatedly speak in the third person.
"It's going to be a demolition," Botha predicted of the eight-round fight.
"It's going to be a rude awakening for Joseph. You won't have your trainers and sponsors helping you. You're going to be all alone with the Buffalo.
"After Joseph goes to sleep then bring me David Tua. I'll kick David Tua's arse too because he's my era." Botha was determined to be a crowd pleaser.
In reference to the doping accusations levelled at him by the Williams' camp he pulled a drug-free sport handbook from his back pocket.
He then called Parker "baby Joseph" only to momentarily drop his guard to pay him a slice of respect. "This kid is a good fighter," he said.
"He has big amateur experience. He's a 10-times better fighter than Sonny Bill Williams. That's why the Buffalo is going to come in top shape. I'm taking this fight very seriously. I'm not underestimating him." The typically understated Parker refused to buy into the banter.
"This comes with boxing," he said.
"It's pretty exciting but I'm trying to stay focused.
"I don't like to talk it up because I like to leave it in the ring and let my fists do the talking. If I train hard I don't have to do any of that. I'll keep it that way for now."