By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrell Miller might be in the minority, but the heavyweight contender considers Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker a “50-50” fight.
The unbeaten Brooklyn native expects Parker’s conditioning and chin to serve him well when the WBO heavyweight champion confronts Joshua on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales. New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) has gone all 12 rounds in each of his three WBO title bouts, whereas England’s Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) hasn’t gone 12 rounds once.
“I think Parker has better stamina,” Miller said before a recent press conference to promote his fight against Johann Duhaupas on April 28. “He has to let his hands go, move early in the beginning rounds because Joshua doesn’t have the best footwork and he does gas out by the fourth, fifth round. [Joshua will] try to shoot his gun in the first two to three rounds. If Parker can move fast, go to the body, go up the middle a little bit, and wait till the later rounds to really jump on him, I think he’ll be definitely be in the fight.”
Miller thinks Parker can hurt Joshua, yet he concedes Parker would need to “dominate” the IBF/IBO/WBA champ to win a decision before a Joshua-crazed crowd expected to exceed 78,000 at Principality Stadium. Parker did defeat a British boxer in England in his last fight – a majority-decision victory over Hughie Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) on September 23 in Manchester.
“I don’t see him winning a decision against Anthony Joshua unless he dominates him for 12 rounds,” Miller said. “You know, AJ’s the golden goose over there. He gets away with a ton of crap over there, so he really has to bring it to AJ in order to get that kind of decision. He really would have to dominate for 12 rounds. He really has to bring it for 12 rounds and hurt AJ, make AJ look like Dillian Whyte [did in] the first couple rounds.”
That said, Miller anticipates a highly competitive fight. Handicappers have established Joshua as an 8-1 favorite, but Miller feels Parker is being underestimated.
“Honestly, I give it a 50-50 chance, to tell you the truth,” Miller said of Parker pulling off an upset. “We’ve never really seen Parker wobbled in any one of his fights. But we’ve seen AJ wobbled multiple times in his fights before. And he’s been dropped in sparring and dropped as a professional. So for anybody to really write off Parker, you’re not really doing any justice for boxing.
"I mean, AJ does have the hype and has the publicity. But this is boxing and Joseph Parker really did earn his spot, earn his belt. I give him a 50-50 shot. He’s young, he’s faster than AJ, so I think it’ll be a good fight.”
Four weeks after Joshua-Parker, Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) will face France’s Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) in a bout HBO will televise from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Miller hopes to secure a shot at Joshua in August at Barclays Center if they win their upcoming fights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.