Brad Lewis: Criticism of Joseph Parker's performance reeks of boxing naivety from the uneducated

OPINION: Joseph Parker's narrow defeat of boxing bully Derek Chisora was the Kiwi's best performance in five years.

But you wouldn't know it according to some critics and the cesspool of trolls that is social media. 

Parker overcame a first-round knockdown to outlast and outbox a grizzled veteran slugger, who has shared the squared circle with world-class talent.

The former WBO champion looked fit, fast and powerful while the strength of his chin cannot be questioned.

The Kiwi was legitimately dropped with the first punch of the fight in a flash knockdown, but quickly gathered his composure in the face of a brutal barrage of power punches from the 37-year-old Brit. 

Constant pressure bagged Chisora at least three of the first six rounds, but slowly Parker implemented his gameplan and in the latter rounds he completely outclassed his opponent. 

Was the fight close? Yes. Was Chisora robbed? Absolutely not.

By the end of the fight, seven rounds were Parker's, three Chosira's with the fourth and sixth being swing rounds. 

At worst, Parker did enough to draw the fight, which was backed up by true boxing pundits without agendas.

While admitting the fight was close, renowned scribe Dan Rafael leaned in Parker's direction, while BBC experts Mike Costello and Steve Bunce believed Parker did enough to win.

Newshub spoke to one Kiwi boxing pundit who felt Parker's slow start skewed public opinion on the fight, and urged fans to watch on mute to avoid being influenced by commentary.

He scored the fight eight rounds to four in Parker's favour. 

But that's not good enough for some, with the words "lacklustre, lethargic and unimpressive", used in evaluating Parker's performance. 

One Newshub Facebook punter said "Parker should have hung up the gloves after the Joshua fight...embarrasing performance and rigged judging. He should be ashamed."

Another wrote "He should buy a Lotto ticket... worst decision I have ever scene [SIC]"

"Wow - can't beleive that decision. Joe didn't win a round, He looked slow and weak. Chisora was ripped off," said another.

Seriously - what fight were you watching?

Parker was far from perfect and admitted to Newshub he is a long way from being ready to challenge for a heavyweight title.

But to criticize the 29-year-old's performance and question where he stands amongst the heavyweight elite reeks of naivety and lacks knowledge of boxing's heavyweight division.

At worst, Parker is the sixth-best heavyweight on the planet behind Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte.

The division is ripe with talented young sluggers including Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Adam Kownacki, Filip Hrgovic and Michael Hunter, but none have the record, or calibre of opponent as Parker.

The likes of Luis Ortiz, Andy Ruiz, Alex Povetkin and Chisora are also in the mix, with Ruiz a potential next matchup for the Kiwi. 

Parker remains the only opponent Joshua has failed to floor, while his 2018 heavyweight war with Whyte was one of the best fights of the last decade.

The only undefeated boxers above Parker are Fury - who is likely to retire after a pair of fights against Joshua - and Usyk, who is the future ruler of the division.

Losses happen in combat sports. Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Georges St-Pierre, Conor McGregor and the great Muhammad Ali have several blemishes on their pro records - all became champions after tasting defeat. 

But according to 'Tall Poppy' New Zealand, Parker's days among heavyweight boxing's elite are numbered, if not over.

Fake news. 

Parker is at most three wins away from another crack at a heavyweight title, and although he wants to wait, if the cards fall in his favour, he could fight for the WBO strap later this year.

Rumour has it the WBO will strip Joshua (or Fury) of that title if either refuses a bout with Usyk before an already-signed rematch. 

Parker is ranked third in WBO, behind only Usyk and Joyce, so if either declines the potential bout, Parker will get the call.

Ideally for the 31-fight veteran, that shot comes in 12 months with another two or three fights under his belt.

Rematches with Chisora, Whyte and Ruiz are all possibilities, while Joyce, Hunter and Hrgovic have all expressed interest in fighting Parker.

How that plays out will depend on several things, including the ongoing negotiations with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing.

Expect that contract to be signed swiftly and another bout quickly agreed upon, giving Parker more time to hone his craft under the impressive Andy Lee.

And when Parker climbs atop the heavyweight mountain one more time, the trolls will be hiding under a rock and his doubters silenced. 

Brad Lewis is a Newshub online sports producer