Trainer Andy Lee is diligently preparing Joseph Parker for his imminent clash with knockout specialist Deontay Wilder, leaving no room for lapses in focus. Lee, the former middleweight titlist, is refining Parker's skills for the 12-round bout scheduled for Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Parker, a former champion, has rebounded with two consecutive victories since his tough knockout loss to Joe Joyce in September. Despite setbacks against Dillian Whyte and Joshua, the 31-year-old now confronts one of the most formidable challenges of his career in the hard-hitting Wilder, boasting 42 stoppages in 43 fights.
Lee, Parker's trainer for the past couple of years, is optimistic about his fighter's chances against Wilder, emphasizing the importance of proper training. Lee stresses the need to defend against Wilder's powerful right hand by keeping the left hand high and staying vigilant, warning that any momentary lapse in focus could lead to Wilder taking advantage, given his ability to strike quickly from a distance.
The trainer acknowledges the need for Parker to maintain patience, staying either far away or up close to Wilder, avoiding the dangerous middle range. Lee sees opportunities for Parker, emphasizing the importance of seizing those chances against a powerful opponent.
Lee sees the current layoff advantage for Parker as Wilder returns to the ring after more than a year. Wilder's last fight in October of the previous year resulted in a first-round knockout against Robert Helenius, following a one-year hiatus after being stopped by Tyson Fury in their trilogy bout in October of 2021.
"Wilder's had a one-rounder, not even for one round, so if there was ever a time when the stars aligned—I said to Joe this is meant to be," Lee stated. "This is meant to be, but we have to do the right things to get there."
This fight could be the most exciting on the bill, depending on which Deontay Wilder shows up. Personally, if Parker keeps away, I see him walking onto one of Wilder's right hands if he has the range and time to deliver clean shots. Parker's best chance is keeping it close, smothering Wilder's work, and not giving him the range to generate the power we all know he possesses.
If Wilder finds his range and is allowed to unload, this could be a quick night. However, if Parker boxes smart and takes Wilder into the second half of the fight, could we see him winning a points decision?
"Joseph Parker vs Deontay Wilder"