Brad Lewis: Three reasons why Joseph Parker vs Alexander Flores matters

OPINION: Build-up to Joseph Parker's heavyweight fight with Alexander 'The Great' Flores has been rather ho-hum, compared to the heights of marquee UK match-ups this year.

Twelve months ago, Team Parker were weeks away from announcing a unification heavyweight title fight with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff - a fight the Kiwi would lose by a decent margin, but with no damage done to his stock.

Brad Lewis: Three reasons why Joseph Parker vs Alexander Flores matters

In 22 fights, Parker is still the only man Joshua has failed to finish and that gutsy performance in April lead to a title eliminator against Dillian Whyte in July.

Whyte dropped Parker twice and despite a fast finish that almost produced a remarkable Parker victory, 'The Body Snatcher' won on all three scorecards, leaving the Aucklander in heavyweight limbo.

That place of darkness has Parker in a rough spot, where he needs to win and win well against an opponent that won't raise any eyebrows.

So why should the sporting public of New Zealand care about the heavyweight showdown this Saturday night in Christchurch?

The state of the heavyweight division

Parker is on the outside, looking in at the cream of the heavyweight crop. Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Joshua are clearly the three best heavyweights on the planet.

Parker now finds himself at the bottom of the midpack, but one punch can change the trajectory of his career. As it stands Whyte, Luis Ortiz, Jarrell Miller, Kubrat Pulev and Parker are jostling for position behind the elite threesome.

Whyte should take care of Dereck Chisora later this month, which would likely lead to a March or April rematch with Joshua.

A Parker win on Saturday does nothing in getting among that mix, but it will make him an attractive option for one of the aforementioned heavyweights.

As a former world champion, Parker has name value, especially coming off a win, so expect the wolves to circle if the Kiwi knocks out Flores in Christchurch.

This could be the last meaningful fight of Parker's career

Three losses in a row is the death nail on the careers of most professional fighters. Parker will go from a former heavyweight champion to just another journeyman, if Flores upsets the Kiwi on Saturday.

Team Parker will go from positioning themselves for a shot at a top-five opponent to potentially chasing a fight with fellow Kiwi Junior Fa, who could be on the cusp of the WBO top 10 himself.  

American Charles Martin was the IBF heavyweight champion in 2016, before suffering a devastating loss at the hands of Joshua. Almost three years later, Martin is all-but irrelevant in the heavyweight division.

Brad Lewis: Three reasons why Joseph Parker vs Alexander Flores matters

We should see fireworks

The combination of a desperate Joseph Parker against a guy with the biggest opportunity of his career should lead to an exciting fight.

Make no mistake, Team Parker know they need a dominant win - not over 12 rounds, but inside three. The Kiwi's desperation may leave  him exposed to the powerful Californian, who has 15 stoppage wins in 19 fights.

Parker hasn't had that knockout feeling since dismantling Alexander Dimitrenko in October 2016 - he needs a similar result on Saturday night or the journey is virtually over.

Brad Lewis is a Newshub on-line sports producer.