By Keith Miller
Now that the dust has settled, the performance of David Higgins at last night’s press conference for the Fury v Parker fight can be viewed as both sad, and, well, just a little pathetic.
Only Higgins himself will know whether this was a deliberate ploy to drum up publicity. If that was his intention it has apparently backfired, with general consensus being that it has not so much generated interest in the fight itself, as it has highlighted the character of some of the individuals on the periphery.
With former heavyweight Francois Botha (errr…..pardon???) by his side, Higgins launched a tirade at the Fury camp, accusing them of backing down from a deal to appoint neutral officials for Sunday morning’s bout. Hughie Fury’s coach, Peter Fury, responded with allegations of alcohol and drug use by Higgins – incidentally, a big call from one of the UK’s bigger drug lords in a previous life. Either way, it was looked embarrassingly staged.
The fact that Hughie Fury is even in a position to be challenging for a world title arguably requires further scrutiny. Whilst Parker’s (and let’s face it, all other heavyweights) early career is littered with wins over opponents who could politely be called journeymen, Fury’s record takes the cake in the “bums” collection.
Regardless of Fury’s – ahem – light record, unless Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry were in on the plan, they have every right to be utterly furious. Judging by the look and reaction from Parker after Higgins had been removed from the conference it is a very safe bet to say they had no idea what Higgins had planned.
It really doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong. We know that contrived publicity has been a cornerstone of professional boxing for years. Just ask that crook Don King (if you could stomach the thought of being in the same room as him).
The only thing we can take out of this palaver is that Higgins is now way out of his depth in the fight game. His manner over the past six months has become increasingly erratic, no doubt exacerbated by an extremely acrimonious split of the Duco business. Maybe the stress is showing.
But let’s not forget that this fight has made its way to the UK under Higgins’ watch, after originally being scheduled for Auckland. In doing so, the promotion rights have been handed over, and the Fury camp – under WBO rules – can appoint anyone of their choosing to officiate. That’s part of the deal in the UK, and Higgins would, or at the very least should, have known that.
Higgins and Duco are quickly finding out that being the big fish in New Zealand’s extremely small pond counts for nothing when the bigger markets come-a-calling. The simple fact is that Parker’s profile in the UK is low, and in the USA, negligible. They can’t be held responsible for this bout not getting airtime in the States, or only being available on You Tube in the UK. Hughie Fury is no drawcard even in his own country when Anthony Joshua is all the rave.
But, as initially feared, Duco simply don’t appear to have the bargaining power, the experience or the know how to take Joseph Parker to the next level.
There was no coverage of these antics in the UK media today; well none in the reputable media anyway.
Fury’s camp was right – the petulant rantings from Higgins made the Parker camp look worried. That was the last thing either of them needed. With the contract between Duco and Parker up next year, the best thing the camp could do is find a promoter who knows how to get Parker to the next level, and when they do, handle their charge properly.
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