Top Rank boss Bob Arum is a whole lot more optimistic than a number of other people are when it comes to an Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight unification fight taking place soon. Arum, speaking with The Los Angeles Times when going through the early 2018 schedule of fights to go out on ESPN, said he feels the fight will get done once the two sides agree over the purse split (a scenario Arum says he feels will indeed unfold – “with a little tugging and so forth.”)
And a date has even been put forth: March 31. And Arum, who co-promotes WBO heavyweight ruler Parker, says he gives the unbeaten New Zealander “a hell of a chance” in the fight.
“I give Parker a shot with Joshua. Joshua doesn’t have a chin, man,” Arum told Lance Pugmire. “Parker, you can hit him with a baseball bat and nothing happens. Now, I don’t say Parker is the second coming of [Vasyl] Lomachenko, but he has a really good chin. He’s a tough guy and he hits OK. Joshua’s been hurt in a lot of fights. I don’t demean him, but Parker has a hell of a chance.”
Maybe the Parker fight is riskier for Joshua, also unbeaten and the reigning WBA/IBF champ, than a lot of people think. Arum knows his stuff of course, and he knows a suspect chin when he sees one. Does AJ have a suspect chin? This may seem a harsh question. AJ has been down and wobbled, yes, but only in two fights – one against Dillian Whyte (wobbled) and one against Wladimir Klitschko (down).
And does Parker – a good fighter who nevertheless failed to put a dent in Andy Ruiz, Carlos Takam (who Joshua did manage to stop, albeit via a somewhat premature-looking stoppage) Razvan Cojanu and Hughie Fury – really have the kind of punching power Klitschko and Whtye have?
Joshua-Parker is an interesting fight to be sure, but from this vantage point Joshua wins quite handily. Still, Arum likes what he sees in Parker and he likes his chances in March. Let’s hope that date actually comes off.