Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing CEO-Co-Founder Keith Veltre has slammed the Professional Boxing Commission New Zealand (PBCNZ) regarding the controversial Joseph Parker vs. Alexander “The Great” Flores heavyweight fight, held earlier this month, due to numerous obvious low blows, resulting in Flores being knocked out in the third round.
“As excited as we were for Flores to face-off against Parker,” Veltre said, “we are equally disappointed with Parker’s dirty antics. It was clear that the referee not only favored Parker, but he also lacked enough knowledge to be officiating in the ring. Cleary, though, the New Zealand commission is just as inexperienced with high-caliber fights like this. If it wants to continue pursuing larger fights, then I would suggest it makes sure there is an equal playing field in New Zealand for all foreign fighters.”
Upset-minded Flores (17-2-1, 15 KOs), fighting out of Rowland Heights, California, traveled to Parker’s home country to challenge the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight world champion, in front of three Kiwi judges and a New Zealand referee, John Conway.
“Coming into this fight,” Flores said, “I was excited and prepared for the opportunity to fight Joseph Parker. My vision of how it would play out was nothing that I could have ever expected. I heard Joe speaking in pre-fight interviews about hitting me in the balls or using his elbows, but I really thought he was talking about his experience with Dillian Whyte, and I never expected him to use those tactics with me. I have never been a dirty fighter, so, in my training for this fight, getting hit in the groin area or getting his forearm in my face was not something that ever crossed my mind.
“After reading articles it is clear to me that this was premeditated. When the fight started, the referee clearly stated that we were at belt-line and anything below that would be considered low. I noticed early on that he was hitting me low and I tried to get the referee’s attention. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was consistent whenever we would get inside and exchange.”
In the third round, Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) unloaded a right-left combination, both clearly landing below the belt, lowering Flores’ hands and leaving him virtually defenseless for a crushing right that floored him. Flores beat the count, but he never recovered from the illegal blows, ending in a knockout moments later.
“I have never been hit in the groin like that and there was an evident welt in that area. After the referee warned him in the corner, it was already after I had been the beneficiary of several low blows. It can be a serious problem when you’re hit in that area because, mentally, you feel like you need to protect a larger area. After that warning, he went straight to the well and hit me hard to the groin. I dropped my hand to cover my groin area and he hit me hard, knocking me down with a shot that I never recovered from. Even after the blatant low blow that knocked me down, I was shocked that the ref did not see it. This should have amounted to a disqualification, or point deduction, and time for me to recover. “
Conway warned Parker at last three times prior to the critical low-blow combination that led to the end of the fight moments later. Conway told Parker to keep his punches higher early in the second round, halted the action near the end of the second when a Parker left was terribly low, again during the first minute of the third, and then again after the two low blows that led to the first knockdown.
At the very least, Conway should have halted the action after the first knockdown to give Flores, by rule, up to five-minutes to recover, in addition to penalizing Parker one point. If Flores couldn’t continue the fight, it should have been ruled a “no contest”. Conway told Stuff that Parker would have lost a point had there been a third time, but the fourth and fifth south-of-the-border punches were the one-two leading to the first knockdown.
The only statement more irrelevant than Parker calling the low blows “unintentional”, as if legal punches, was his trainer, Kevin Barry, declaring after the fight that, “He didn’t get knocked out by a body blow.” No, Flores was merely left defenseless and dangerously susceptible to the damaging punch that floored him, from which he never really recovered, that resulted in the knockout.
“I heard that some people were saying that the low blows were irrelevant, because that was not the shot that finished the fight, but that’s from people who’ve never been knocked down and tried to recover from a knockdown. I never recovered from the low-blow knockdown. Joe quickly jumped on me with the shots needed to finish the fight.
“Looking back, I could have never imagined that he would resort to these tactics to win the fight, and I believe this left a black mark on the sport of boxing. I was knocked out to end the fight in a way that could have resulted in serious injury due to clear referee negligence.”
Even the New Zealand media understood Parker won by fighting dirty:
New Zealand Herald: “Parker last night knocked out Flores in the third round at Christchurch’s Horncastle arena but it came after at least two blows against his Mexican-American opponent, who complained bitterly about the “dirty” tacti afterwards.
“Parker’s second low blows caused Flores to drop his hands and the south Aucklander connected with a right hand which flattened his opponent. Flores beat the count but was set upon straight away by Parker who scented blood…..”
Stuff: “Parker, the former WBO world heavyweight champion of the world, knocked Flores down in the third round with a right hand to the head that was set up on the back of two unquestionably low shots.”
News.com/au: “He (Parker) promised to bring an edge, a little mongrel if you like, and Joseph Parker certainly did that when knocking out Alexander Flores in the third round……
“There will inevitably be some controversy attached to their stoppage by Parker because it came soon after a low blow, the second of the short fight, and Flores had dropped his hands when Parker’s right hand knocked him to the canvas.
“…Apart from the two low blows, Parker occasionally held and hit Flores, which is illegal, as well as going in with elbows raised.”
“I heard Joseph admitted to the low blows and that should be enough to change this fight to a ‘no contest’,” Flores concluded. “His excuse that, ‘That’s up to the ref to see low blows and his job to fight’ is like saying it’s up to police to stop you from stealing. I have the support of a lot of wonderful people in New Zealand and I was met by people at the airport who apologized for how I was mistreated. The biggest problem with boxing is we need to develop a zero-tolerance policy regarding issues of this nature. It would be a good start by the New Zealand boxing commission to set a precedence by saying it us not going to tolerate cheating or deception.
“When I pressed Joe at the end of the fight, I said to him, ‘What’s up? You know you were hitting me low.’ He just mumbled and didn’t have an answer, but he did say he’d give me a rematch. No amount of money would ever make me a dirty fighter. Joe needs to look deeply and reflect about the importance of good character because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters the most.”
The 28-year-old Flores’ goal remains to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world