Joseph Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) partially vindicated himself on Saturday night with his decisive 12 round unanimous decision win over Dereck ‘War’ Chisora (32-12, 23 KOs) in their rematch.
At times, Chisora looked a decade older than his chronological age of 37, and it’s a miracle that he wasn’t knocked out by Parker tonight.
The fact that Chisora survived the 12 round distance is more of an indication of how far Parker has slipped in the last three years.
Although Parker showed excellent power tonight, his stamina limited him to fight on brief spurts and seemed oddly indecisive each time he had Chisora hurt.
Parker repeatedly let Chisora off the hook
The former WBO heavyweight champion Parker showed excellent power on his uppercuts, which he used to drop the 37-year-old former world title challenger Chisora three times in the contest. However, Parker failed to take advantage of having Chisora and appeared hesitant to go for the coup de grace for fear of getting clipped.
Fighting in front of a loud crowd at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, Parker clipped Chisora with big uppercuts to drop him in rounds 4, 7, and 8.
Each time it appeared that Chisora wouldn’t make it out of the round, he used his experience to trick the less experienced Parker by playing possum by going to the corner.
Rather than jumping on the exhausted and hurt Chisora when he had him hurt in those rounds, Parker stood studying him for what seemed like an eternity, and by the time he did go on the attack to try and finish him, it was too late.
A normal highly rated heavyweight contender would have likely destroyed Chisora the first time he was hurt, but not Parker. He lacked the decisiveness to finish his wounded prey, and that ultimately led to the fight going the distance.
Parker’s corner instructions were poor
The scores were: 115-110, 115-111, 114-112. It’s unclear what the judge was thinking that scored the fight 114-112 for Parker because there was no way that the fight was that close. I mean, the only way to explain a score like that is if the judge was confused.
At best, Chisora deserved to win three rounds, but two makes more sense. He was outpunched in every round of the fight, even the ones where Parker appeared to be coasting from the 10th round on.
Parker’s trainer Andy Lee was repeatedly telling him not to mix it up with Chisora, and his instructions made little sense because he was often telling him this after he’d had a big round.
Lee should have been telling Parker to jump on the hurt Chisora after he’d knocked him down, but instead, he was telling him to box. The instructions were weird and self-defeating, making what could have been an easy fight more difficult.
Chisora has very little left
As far as Chisora goes, he looks pretty well shot at this point in his 14-year professional career, but he’s still popular enough to continue to get nice payday opportunities in the UK on Matchroom Boxing career.
With Chisora, he’s more of an entertainer than a relevant contender looking to get a world title shot. Still, this fight showed clearly that Eddie Hearn is going to need to be selective with the type of opponents that he puts Chisora in with because he doesn’t belong with true top-tier heavyweights.
Parker was okay because he’s on the slide and is no longer of the relevant guys. Chisora would be a good opponent for Alen Babic, Dempsey McKean, and Zhilei Zhang. He can hang with those types of heavyweights, but not the top-level fighters.
In hindsight, if Parker had gone for the kill after hurting Chisora in the fourth, he likely would have finished the 37-year-old in the fifth.
All in all, it wasn’t the performance that Parker needed for him to be considered as worthy of a world title shot against champions Oleksandr Usyk or Tyson Fury. Moreover, Parker’s failure to finish Chisora doesn’t fill one with confidence about his ability to become a two-time heavyweight champion. The way Parker fought tonight, he would lose to any of these heavyweights:
Andy Ruiz Jr.