By John J. Raspanti
Before he stepped into the ring with undefeated heavyweight Joseph Parker last weekend, Russia’s Alexander Dimitrenko oozed confidence.
“I’m looking forward to winning this fight,” said the 6-foot-7 inch Dimitrenko at a press confidence announcing the fight. “I’m confident I can win. I’m not a slow heavyweight – I’m fast. I’ve stopped good heavyweights such as Timo Hoffman and Albert Sosnowski.
"I have seen in his eyes that he (Parker) is not ready yet.” he boasted.
Confidence is one thing.
Talent is another.
Parker was last seen in the ring winning a hard-fought 12 round decision over tough Carlos Takam.
Dimitrenko wasn’t impressed.
“In his fight against Takam, he lost – he really lost – but he was named the winner,” said Dimitrenko.
If Dimitrenko was trying to get under the 24-year-old Parker’s skin, it worked.
Parker fired back at the giant heavyweight, accusing him of being disrespectful.
Maybe Dimitrenko had never heard of the old adage, “Let sleeping lions lie.”
Last Saturday night at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, New Zealand, seconds before the opening round, the normally affable Parker glared at his opponent.
Dimitrenko bounced in his corner—oblivious to the fire he had lit. At the bell, both men faced off in the center of the ring. Parker fired a stinging jab. Dimitrenko took it and tried to counter, but Parker wasn’t home. He let fly with a combination that bothered Dimitrenko.
Parker blocked a long right from Dimitrenko, stepped inside, and snapped off a three-punch combination.
The blows sent Dimitrenko to the canvas. The behemoth got up quickly, a shocked look on his face. He smiled. He seemed fine. But was he? A big left hook at the bell sent him a staggering, like a man who had one too many.
Dimitrenko tried for more volume in Round two. But Parker is younger, faster, and more athletic.
The math didn’t add up.
Parker worked over his opponent, with a lead right catching Dimitrenko flush. He staggered, but held on. Parker wasted no time, nailing Dimentreko with two rights, followed by a cracking shot to the ribs that sent Dimitrenko to the canvas for a second time.
Once again, Dimitrenko rose with a smile. Was he enjoying getting the tar beat of him? Not likely. To this writer he still looked dazed and confused.
A few seconds later, he hit the floor again, courtesy of a right off the top of his head.
He beat the count as the bell rang.
Parker wanted to end things in Round three. He moved toward his prey like the grim reaper. A left landed. He absorbed a right hook. Two body shots left Dimitrenko writhing on the canvas with not a hint of a smile on his face.
The time was 1:38 into Round three.
Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) will likely fight Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO belt if Tyson Fury is stripped as expected.
Maybe Dimitrenko will keep his thoughts to himself the next time he steps into the squared circle with a hungry heavyweight.
That’s just common sense.
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