OPINION: I for one will be happy when Joseph Parker's fight with Hughie Fury is over.
What a shambolic episode this has been. Are you as sick and tired of this fight as I am?
We've been talking about Joseph Parker versus Hughie Fury for six months. There has been drama after drama from the moment the fight was confirmed in March - but only on the condition that Fury wouldn't face a hearing for an alleged doping violation before the bout set down for May 6 in Auckland. We should have seen it coming.
- British Boxing Board of Control won't back down over controversial referee appointment for Parker, Fury fight
- British Boxing Board stands by Terry O'Connor for Joseph Parker's WBO bout against Hughie Fury
Since then, there's problems with Fury's promoter, Fury doesn't show up, a forgettable fill-in fight in Manukau, problems with Parker's promoter, and now to top it all off we have a spat over neutral officials for next weekend's re-scheduled fight in Manchester.
Boxing doesn't help itself with this stuff. Neutral officials should be a given for a world title fight. The WBO's own regulations says its president shall "endeavour" to appoint neutral officials for all world championship contests. Endeavour? What kind of self-respecting organisation uses a word like "endeavour" in this context? It says it all.
"Disgraceful!" cried Parker's promoter David Higgins. "It's contrary to the spirit of the deal!" as though all involved are members of the MCC, and this fight's being staged at Lord's. I swear Guy Ritchie has the sequel for Snatch somewhere in all of this.
"I love Joseph Parker, but if he can't beat Hughie Fury, he shouldn't be heavyweight champion of the world".
Ain't that the truth.
I don't care if it's Terry O'Connor, Terry Wright, Terri Irwin, Shayne O'Connor or Sinead O'Connor refereeing the fight: it shouldn't matter.
If Joseph Parker is as good as we're all led to believe, then he takes the nationality of the judge out of the equation. This should be win number 24, knockout number 19 for Parker. Hughie Fury is a very average fighter. He's unbeaten in 20 fights, but he's fought no one. We can all dream of fighting Anthony Joshua at Wembley, but there's no point in talking about it if you can't knock out Hughie Fury.
They say that to be the best you've got to beat the best. Parker's yet to even meet the best. Parker might be the WBO heavyweight champion of the world, but the fact is that he only got the chance to fight for the title after it was vacated by the last genuine undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury.
Tyson was an outstanding fighter, no question. Is Hughie Fury anywhere near as good as his cousin? Absolutely not.
Joe, get the job done next weekend so we can put this six month saga behind us, and we can get on with finding out how good you really are.
Andrew Gourdie is a presenter and reporter for Newshub Sport.