By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder doesn’t consider Joseph Parker some sort of hopeless underdog against Anthony Joshua.
Parker possesses the tools to win their heavyweight title unification fight, according to Wilder. The WBC heavyweight champ just thinks Parker will have to knock out Joshua to leave Wales with Joshua’s IBF, IBO and WBA titles.
Wilder can’t envision Parker winning a decision over Joshua in the United Kingdom, even if the unbeaten New Zealander deserves a 12-round win March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
“I give Parker a hell of a chance,” Wilder told BoxingScene.com recently. “Parker, he’s got good footwork. He likes to move. And like I was telling him, because I know Parker, too. Most of us guys talk and we’ll send messages back and forth. Basically, as long as he keeps with his head movement and keeps throwing punches in there, he’s gonna definitely have a great chance of winning.
“But I don’t feel that if it goes to the scorecards that they’re gonna give him that. He’s gonna have to knock Anthony Joshua out. He’s gonna have to. I don’t see them giving him that decision.”
Parker knocked out 18 of his first 21 professional opponents, but each of Parker’s three WBO heavyweight title fights have gone the distance. Two of those wins were majority decisions and considered controversial – his victory over American Andy Ruiz in December 2016 and his defeat of England’s Hughie Fury on September 23.
None of Joshua’s 20 fights have gone the distance since he turned pro in October 2013.
As much as Wilder likes Parker personally, he doesn’t want Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) to upset Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) because Wilder wants to beat the British superstar himself in what would be by far the most lucrative opportunity of Wilder’s career.
“Of course I don’t want it to happen,” Wilder said. “Parker, I’m sorry, brother! But he’s definitely gonna have to knock him out to get that victory. And if he don’t, I’ll avenge [it for] him easy. I can’t wait. You’re looking at the baddest man on the planet.”
Four weeks before Joshua opposes Parker, the 32-year-old Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) will defend his WBC title against Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC) on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.