By Jake Donovan
The last time Francois Botha traveled Down Under, his fight was mired in controversy in every way imaginable. This time around, it simply ended in disaster.
Unbeaten boxing novice Joseph Parker picked up the biggest win of his young career, knocking out the 44-year old heavyweight in two rounds Thursday evening in Auckland, New Zealand.
Botha's last fight took place four months ago in Australia against another 5-fight ring novice, as Sonny Boy Williams managed a controversial points win under suspect circumstances. The bout was mysteriously shortened from 12 rounds to 10, an announcmenent that suspiciously came immediately after Botha rallied late in the fight and had Williams in trouble.
There was no chance of a robbery this time around, as Parker's two-fisted attack took the drama out of the official's hands.
The threat of a knockout wasn't immediately evident, as both fighters came out to a measured pace in the opening round. Parker was the far busier fighter, a scenario you'd expect when matched up against an opponent more than twice his age.
Botha, sporting his usual overweight and out-of-shape physique, looked for a one-punch knockout, willing to take several in order to land that one bomb. That moment never had a chance of happening. Parker stepped it up in round two, the openings far more evident as he increased his punch output.
A right hand snuck through Botha's guard, pinning the South African along the ropes where he'd remain for the rest of the brief affair. Parker was falling short with most of the left hands he threw, but enough right hands and the occasional left hook landed flush to eventually leave Botha out on his feet. The veteran was defenseless and on his way to the canvas when the referee mercifully rescued him from further punishment.
The official time was 2:32 of round two.
Parker improves to 6-0 (5KO) with the win, his second in the span of just four weeks.
"I think my talent is coming along. I'm improving with each fight," stated the 21-year old Parker, who is trained by Kevin Barry.
The trainer agreed with that assessment, as does his opponent.
"He has improved in the past two months," insisted Barry. "He also showed that he has far more power than most people believe."
Botha would most certainly attest to that. The three decade-long veteran falls to 48-10-3 (29KO) with the loss, his fifth straight. His previous defeat arguably should have been a win, one that was well on its way to being a dramatic knockout before controversy erupted over the length of the bout.
There were no excuses this time around; Botha accepted defeat, though not necessarily the message that was sent by Father Time.
"I was robbed blind my last trip, but this kid is definitely the goods," Botha confirmed afterward. "He has a good management team and the skills to go a very long way."
While the sky's the limit for Parker, the end is in sight for Botha even if he chooses to ignore the obvious.
"I will be back," Botha insisted. "The White Buffalo will roam again."
To give an idea of how far along Botha is in his career and his life, the 44-year faced a man two years younger than his son Marcel, who gave the family something to cheer about with a win in his pro debut. The 23-year old managed a unanimous decision win over Jeremy Sebastian (0-2) in the opening bout of the evening.
Another debutant made a statement on the undercard, as Jordan Tuigamala impressed in a four-round points win over Jody Allen (2-9, 3KO). The disparity in age was similar to that of the main event, as Tuigamala (1-0, 0KO) was far too spry for the 45-year old Allen to keep up with in the lopsided affair.
The most publicized pro debuts of the night came in a three-round exhibition between dwarf-sized experimental boxers Matthew Wood and Colin Lane. The bout wwas won by Wood via unanimous decision, though in a fight that won't count in the pro ranks.
Neither gentleman boasts a boxing background of any kind and it showed in their fight, in which the pair of light heavyweights sported headgear and full body attire similar to what is worn in the amateur ranks.
Arlene Blencowe (2-1, 0KO) stepped up from six-rounds to ten in just her third pro fight, a move that produced favorable results. The super lightweight picked up a unanimous decision over 40-year old Daniella Smith in the opening bout of the telecast, which aired live on New Zealand Sky.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox