By Keith Idec
Joseph Parker isn’t so sure Dillian Whyte even believes a lot of what he’s been saying.
New Zealand’s Parker suspects Whyte is trying to convince not only fans and media that he’ll become the first fighter to knock out Parker in their 12-round heavyweight fight Saturday night in London. Parker senses self-doubt in Whyte, which he masks by making bold predictions.
“My opponent’s been talking a lot of smack, and I think sometimes smack talk is a sign of doubt,” Parker said during a press conference Thursday in London, according to Sky Sports. “And also, it’s a sign of trying to convince himself and convince others that he’s ready for this challenge. I hope he’s ready to take a lot of punches, because I’m going to give them real bad.”
The soft-spoken Parker’s approach is the complete opposite of the way Whyte promotes his fights. The former WBO heavyweight champion didn’t predict a knockout Thursday, but he is confident he’ll bounce back from his loss to Anthony Joshua by beating another British heavyweight at O2 Arena.
“I’m in great shape,” Parker said. “There’s no excuses here. Before, I usually come into fights and say hopefully I have a good fight, catch him clean, hopefully have a knockout.
“There’s no hopefully here. I’m here to do damage. I’m here to punch with bad intentions. I’m going to break him down. I don’t want to catch him flush. He’s going to take a lot of punches.”
The 26-year-old Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) will fight for the first time since losing a unanimous decision to England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) in their 12th-round heavyweight title unification fight March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The Jamaican-born, London-based Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) knocked out Australia’s Lucas Browne (25-1, 22 KOs) in the sixth round of his last fight, March 24 at O2 Arena.
Parker is a slight favorite to beat Whyte (-140/+110).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.