Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, May 6, 2017
Where: Auckland, New Zealand
Weight Class: Heavyweights
Titles: WBO Heavyweight Title
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Joseph Parker, 22-0 (18 KOs), Auckland, New Zealand
Hughie Fury, 20-0 (10 KOs), Manchester, England
Betting Odds: Joseph Parker (-170), Hughie Fury (+140)
Joseph Parker defends his WBO heavyweight title against Hughie Fury in Auckland, New Zealand on May 6. This is the first defense of the title for Parker, who won the vacant belt in a close decision win over fellow unbeaten Andy Ruiz in December. The 25-year old Parker looks for another win toward his quest of becoming the best big man in the business. To do so, he will need to thwart the efforts of the unbeaten 22-year old Hughie Fury—a 6'6" boxer with high hopes of his own. Who comes out ahead in Parker vs. Fury?
For a title fight in this division, we're dealing with two very young fighters, with Parker 25 and Fury just 22. And as is the case with young fighters, we're not quite sure what we have with each man. Parker is more-tested, having scored wins over legitimate heavyweights like Carlos Takam and Ruiz. He's a very athletic fighter who is in good condition and has good size at 6'4" and checking in at the 245-pound range. He can really punch, as his 18 KOs in 22 fights would attest. His hands are legitimately heavy and his physical strength is among the best in the division. And for a big man, he can be somewhat nimble and light on his feet.
The problems with Parker, however, are multifold. While not robotic, his movements lack a certain fluidity found with world-class heavyweights. Most of his wins are against opponents on the decline. And his two best wins, against Takam and Ruiz, were debatable decisions. Sometimes, it appears that he's a bit averse to combat. For such a powerful man, his attitude can often be passive. You can almost sense he is willing to leave his opponent alone unless being threatened. He doesn't get the most of what he has and leaves fights closer than they ought to be. He just lays back sometimes and leaves a lot of the table.
I feel Parker has gotten by with superior athleticism, punching power, and a little help from the judges. In addition, he is facing a stick-and-move boxer in Fury whose style is dissimilar from anything he has ever seen in the ring. With Parker falling into lulls and not always displaying the most hunger, does he have the wherewithal to forge his way inside of Fury's reach to do damage? Parker looked pretty fearsome at a lower level, but as he has risen in class, his power has become less of a deciding factor. And Parker without power playing a big role is quite ordinary. This might sound harsh, but the man is now a world champion. In that context, there is still a lot to be desired. It's not that he won't thrive, but at this level, it's fair to ask the tough questions.
Fury is perhaps underrated as a prospect. He has one of the best jabs in the division and has the frame and reach to make it a real weapon. It lands with enough impact to force fighters to constantly reset. That makes life easy on Fury in the ring. There is an overall crispness to his work. Under the surface is a layer of toughness, built over the years. He comes from a traveling fighting family and his older brother won the linear heavyweight title in 2015 from long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko. So he's been around the sport more than his 20 bouts would indicate. He touches his opponents and then moves. He's smooth and avoids the pocket where a less physically-gifted opponent can do damage.
The issues with Fury are also multiple. While Parker is also still developing, this is a major jump up in class for the young Englishman. His best win came in 2015 against Andriy Rudenko, whose only other loss was a decision to unbeaten Lucas Browne. Other than that, Fury's list of victims fails to inspire. Ideally, you'd like to see him cut his teeth against some more top-30 types before trying for a major world title. In addition, he's been inactive, last appearing in a ring in April 2016 for a win over Fred Kassi. He apparently had a skin condition that needed to be repaired that was supposedly making it hard for him to train and fight. He could even be better with that taken care of, but the inactivity and lack of quality opponents stand out as major concerns. All things being equal, he seems a year or two away from being able to fight for a title.
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It's just that styles make fights and in this fight, Fury seems to have some stylistic edges, which is what you're looking for when scouting high-value underdogs in this sport. He has the size and jab to trouble Parker and the movement to keep him from establishing momentum. Fury will make it so it's not easy for Parker to work his way inside. It's just going to be a fight where one guy might have to work a lot harder than his opponent to be in a position to do damage. But with Parker's power and Fury not having proven his durability, that analysis could be moot.
It's just when I see Parker struggling against the boxing skills and speed of Andy Ruiz, it's not all that hard to project Fury having even better results with his physical gifts at play. I'd like Parker's chances against some fighters actually ranked higher than Fury, but I see Fury being all wrong for him. I see Fury piling some early rounds in his favor, braving some stormy passages, and winning a decision going away. Hopefully, he gets credit for it. I'm taking Hughie Fury in this one.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Hughie Fury at +140. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY and bet on the Parker vs. Fury fight from home by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!