I would pencil 2015 in as the year in which Joseph Parker emerges as a hero that boxing needs, not only in Aotearoa but around the world. Slight bias there, but 2015 was going to be a big year for Parker before anything was announced and now we have some direction thanks to news that Parker will be fighting Jason Pettaway in March. What's even more intriguing is that in April Parker will then head on over to Europe to be a punching bag and a sponge for Wladimir Klitschko.
Somehow Duco have managed to bring another fighter down to Aotearoa as the fight will be in Auckland, South Auckland to be specific which straight raises a few questions. Unless you're a boxing super duper expert, which there are very few today as boxing struggles to stay relevant, then you'll probably be clutching at straws as you try to figure out who Mr Pettaway is. We'll get fed information from the promoters, which obviously has an angle of hyping Pettaway up to sell the fight ("a brutal counter puncher") but we won't know until he steps in the ring. He might be an absolute beast and provide a much needed stern test for Parker either pushing Parker to new levels or dominating Parker, or he might be another battler.
You have to think that if fighters are willing to travel to Aotearoa and fight in Aotearoa, they're keen for a fight or a bit of cash. I've said it many times before that Parker needs to fight in the States, or in Europe as he has done but once again we're back in Aotearoa to sell a few tickets. That's me being cynical, let's be honest, as long as Parker is fighting, it's good.
Sparring with Klitschko is the key, I'm not sure how this will go down if Parker looses againgst Pettaway but it's awesome to see a relationship forming between the two camps. Would I rather Parker gets knee deep in to the American boxing scene or become best buddies with Klitschko? Definitely the latter. The line from Kevin Barry is that they want to see how Parker stacks up against the best in the world, but sparring with someone who is a very similar body type must be a part of the deal. Klitschko is huge and smart, Parker is learning how to manage a fight, pick his moments and how to use all his weapons - reach, power and lightning hands. He'll be getting a boxing PHD from Klitschko.
In society, areas where crime is rampant and jail is seen as a right of passage, going to jail can boost your reputation. For some reason this is happening in the NRL as Russell Packer has become one of the most sought after players despite doing not a lot. Packer was good for the Warriors, but he never showed much ability to really kick on to a new level and he ended up as just a stock standard NRL prop. Packer will do a job for whoever snaps him up, probably the St George Dragon but they and any other NRL club who is in the mix for him could save themselves a lot of trouble and money by just grabbing someone else.
The Halberg's. If you're looking for any sort of Halberg Award coverage, go somewhere else as you won't get it here. We have no interest in the Halberg's.
Lastly, is it wrong that I'm kind of excited for the Super Rugby season? Also, is it wrong that I'm excited to see how the Aussies go especially the Queensland Reds who have made a bunch of signings including our own Adam Thomson? I'll state my allegiance right now, I'm an Auckland Blues fan so sip your hateraide. It's going to be an interesting season for the Blues, last season they had the Benji Marshall circus in town which is exactly not what a team like the Auckland Blues need as they struggle to maintain a credible reputation. Their friends down the road have a perfect blueprint for success, while their rivals from Canterbury do what they do. The Blues have seen everyone else move forward, yet they haven't done shit but I'm thinking this year is the year. More on this later.