Win or lose, Samoa should be very proud of Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker. The way he has conducted himself in the spotlight this week ahead of the much-anticipated fight against Anthony Joshua on Sunday morning shows the class of a true world champion.
He has certainly come a long way. And his performance thus far is a credit to his family, support team, villages and this country of Samoa.
Unlike the shaky public appearance at the beginning of this Parker-Joshua campaign, Samoa’s world champion has managed to recover and grown comfortably into the role during the past few weeks. And judging from what we’ve seen, he’s handled the spotlight superbly with such poise, class and the composure of a veteran. We can see that he is comfortable being himself.
It’s not easy to do that especially under extraordinary pressure. What with the world hanging on to every word and every move you make, many people have simple crumbled in the past.
But then Lupesoliai is not just another human being. He is a classy world champion who is incredibly composed, calm and intelligent. He appears to be enjoying the moment too, which is great. Why not? These opportunities are rare. And a fight against someone the ilk of Joshua doesn’t happen everyday.
During the build up to this fight, people have been making comparisons between Tua and Parker, going back to the Tua and Lennox Lewis fight. Many have used Tua’s experience to predict how this Sunday will unfold for another son of Samoan to have stepped up.
Let’s be realistic though, there are a couple of similarities such as the fact that both fighters once again are from the UK and Samoa. But then that’s about it really.
The Parker and Joshua fight is completely different. In terms of boxers, Tua and Parker might share the same Samoan blood but they could not be more contrasting. Tua had unbelievable power, something Parker has yet to show.
But as a boxer, Parker is the total package and this is another level. He is already a world champion and he has everything to lose. Same as Joshua, who holds three other world titles.
And with 80,000 people expected at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday morning, this will be a world record for any Samoan athlete. Now imagine all those people and the deafening noise when the two boxers take the ring? It is not the stuff for the faint-hearted. But if we are feeling the pressure thousands of miles away from Wales, imagine being in the Parker camp?
Which is why we say Parker is already a winner.
The fact is all the talk is done now. Joshua is confident that he could knock out Parker and Parker thinks he can win although the question of how he doesn’t know yet.
Which means it all comes down to who wants it the most on Sunday morning.
With two undefeated champions, the only certainty is that one of them will lose.
Who will that be? We don’t want that to be our champion Parker. That’s for sure.
But Parker knows what to do. He has got to fight to his strengths and not let the occasion get the better of him. He has got to be busy, avoid Joshua’s powerful bombs, use his overhead shots effectively and use his speed with those jabs.
He cannot allow Joshua to dictate the pace of the fight. He must be aggressive and fight smart. If a knock out opportunity presents itself, he should take it.
But this is championship boxing at its best, a win is a win, that’s all it matters, even if he pushes for the fight to go 12 rounds.
We leave the last words to the champions.
“Every fight will have reason in the long run. Parker, he’s a champion, he’s done well for himself, he’s someone who will add something to my life journey.”
“Let’s say I’ve got 20 quid (pounds) in my pocket and I’m looking at Joseph Parker. I believe Anthony Joshua can knock Joseph Parker out for sure,” Joshua said.
In response, Parker said: “I’m going to beat him, I haven’t decided how, yet. I don’t know if it’s a knockout, or points, or decision. See how I feel on fight night.”
“I feel it’s my time. I’m young, I’m fast, I’m strong, and I’m determined to win. I’m not here to put on a show or for a payday, I’m here to take those belts back to New Zealand and Samoa. I’m here to be a part of history. I’m not doing it just for myself, I’m doing it for my team, my family and my country.”
Well Parker, win or lose, in our eyes, you will always be a champion. O ou mama na. God bless and have a peaceful Good Friday, Samoa!