THE RESULT: Joseph Parker totally outboxes a completely toothless Deontay Wilder to score a wide unanimous decision, with one judge, Steve Gray, even scoring the New Zealand man a 120-108 winner. It was hard to argue with that assessment after a fight in which Parker barely took a meaningful shot and completely controlled one of the biggest punchers in heavyweight history.
KEY MOMENTS: The reality is, this was a fight that was short of them – and that is exactly why Parker was able to secure such a one-sided victory. Parker totally nullified Wilder’s punches and was the man who landed the more meaningful shots throughout. There were moments in the final third of the fight where it looked as though Parker might even turn the screw and force a stoppage of his own but in the end he cruised it on the cards.
RECORDS: After the biggest win of his career, Parker is now 34-3 (23) while Wilder is left on 43-3-1 (42).
TALKING POINT: Is Wilder finished? At 38 years old, plenty of money in the bank and with only one win in his last four, does he really need this sport anymore? There have been many times in his career where he has not impressed but still found a big shot. This time, however, he was miles off the pace and offered next to nothing. When asked afterwards if he still has the same desire of old, he said: “I don’t know, man. I’ve done ayahuasca, I’ve found a lot of peace and happinness in my life.”
QUOTABLE: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Wilder,” Parker said. “This was a dangerous and tough fight but we trained very hard for this. Everyone had plans, other plans but this is God’s plan. I was really fit and the strategy was to stay calm, switched on and focused in every second of every round. Listen, Deontay’s got a new coach and maybe he’s applying the things they are working on. Maybe inactivity played a big part.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?: Well definitely not Wilder-Joshua. That fight, after all these years, is absolutely dead and that is a crying shame for everyone except Parker and his team. This was their fourth fight of 2023, second in Saudi, and it is likely that he will be back in the Kingdom before the end of Q2 2024. Rightly so, he has earned it and deserves every ounce of this success. Wilder, who knows? That might just be the end.