By John J. Raspanti
Moving up from the minor to the major leagues, undefeated heavyweight Joseph Parker is hopeful he won’t strike out on May 21st) when he faces ranking contender Carlos Takam at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand.
“My goal is to box smartly and use my distance and reach and move around,” Parker said in an article written by Duncan Johnstone of www.stuff.co.nz.
Takam is by far the most established fighter that Parker has faced. The native of Cameroon, who fights out of France, has won 33 of 35 bouts, with 25 big knockouts.
Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry, is aware of the threat that Takam presents.
“This is one very mean, very physical, very powerful fighter,“Barry told Jai Bednal of news.com.au. “I’ve studied a lot of tape on him. He’s a very big, strong guy who is going to be one helluva test for Joe.”
Barry admitted a couple of days ago that he turned down two bouts with Takan last year. The fight was thought to be too risky. Things have changed. The winner gets a title shot.
But will it be too much, too soon for the 24-year-old Samoan who hails from New Zealand?
Parker has won his last seven fights by knockout. None of the lucky seven were top contenders.
Takam, ranked number five by the WBC and number three by the IBF, seems confident.
A few weeks ago he taunted Parker via social media.
"I respect Joseph Parker, unfortunately it was a mistake for him to take my challenge. I will knockout and show Parker a real man on 21 May," Takam told his twitter followers.
Parker tweeted back that “talk is cheap” and in that, he’s correct. Most fighters love to make bold predictions. Parker is not one of them. He prefers to let his fists do the talking. He’s thrilled that the biggest fight of his life is going down just a few miles from where he grew up.
"To have the fight in South Auckland is very exciting for me," Parker told ESPN.com. a few months ago. "I’ve grown up there my whole life and it’s a great opportunity for me to showcase my growing skills in front of my supporters, who have been there from the start.”
To say boxing is in Parker’s blood is something of an understatement. He started perfecting his stinging jab before he hit kindergarten. By age 3, he was popping his tiny knuckles into the palm of his father Dempsey, who just happened to be named after legendary heavyweight champion, Jack Dempsey.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Parker will have a slight height and reach advantage over Takam next week. His greatest edge is speed. He’s gifted with a quick jab and he can seriously hurt his opponent with rapid-fire combinations.
Takam has won three fights in a row since being stopped by former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin. He wants another title shot.
He has said repeatedly that he’s not coming all the way to New Zealand to lose, but that’s likely what will happen.
Takam will crowd Parker, but the younger man is blessed with quick feet and hands. He’ll jab and beat his senior opponent to the punch.
I see him stopping Takam in the late rounds.