Tony Bellew labels Joseph Parker 'the lesser of the champions'
Heavyweight upstart Tony Bellew has recognised Joseph Parker's "brilliance" but labelled him the weakest of the current world champions.
Bellew scored a knockout upset over fellow English fighter David Haye last weekend to put his name in the mix of title contenders.
Britain's Sky Sports asked him to analyse the top tier of the division and he came up with some interesting comments as he ponders whether to go for a title shot or hang up his gloves.
WBO champion Parker, WBC champ Deontay Wilder, former champion Tyson Fury, rugged Brit Dillian Whyte and Haye were all put under the microscope by Bellew who seems sure to opt for one more big pay day and try to add a heavyweight belt to his world cruiserweight title.
Bellew had this to say about Parker: "He's a shorter, solid fighter. A throwback to the old heavyweight days. He's not your modern day giant of a heavyweight. He's big and he's solid, but I think he is the lesser of the other champions.
"I still think he's a brilliant fighter, he's very good at what he does, but he is not as good as Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder."
And Bellew's trainer David Coldwell felt Parker was the best option in front of his fighter.
"If he was going to fight again, for me it would be Joseph Parker, who is about 6'4" tall, he's not a giant," Coldwell told Sky Sports.
Parker has indicated he's keen to mix it with Bellew down the line.
Parker has an demanding assignment to attend to first, defending his WBO title against Britain's Hughie Fury in Auckland on May 6.
Of the other fighters, Bellew described American Wilder as "extremely explosive and powerful with a leaky defence". Wilder was "wild at times but an exceptional fighter, very fast, someone I rate highly".
Bellew had a special mention for the troubled Tyson Fury, saying: "A man who has fought the odds like me, we're champions of the misfits. He doesn't aesthetically look very beautiful, similar to me, but the man can fight - he can really, really fight".
He felt he had finally earned Haye's respect by beating him and backed himself to repeat the decision in any rematch.
He dismissed Whyte: "I'm not even going to give him the time of day. Why would I fight him when I have got every world champion calling my name? It makes no sense whatsoever."
Interestingly Bellew offered no opinion on big Brit Joshua, the IBF champion who is his stablemate under promoter Eddie Hearn and is about to fight former champion Wladimir Klitschko is a bout that also has the vacant WBA title up for grabs.