Promoter Mick Hennessy on Parker-Fury decision: ‘There must be some sort of agenda’
What the hell is going on with 118-110 scorecards?
Just as the boxing world collectively found their feet following Adelaide Byrd’s inexplicable 10 rounds to two score in favor of Canelo Alvarez in his bout with Gennady Golovkin, those dreaded numbers surfaced again. Not once, but twice.
On Saturday night, in Manchester, England, Hughie Fury challenged Joseph Parker for the WBO heavyweight title. The 23-year-old colossus boxed a disciplined and cerebral fight which, although almost devoid of offensive output, reduced the visitor to punching holes through the air for large portions of the contest.
At the end of 12 rounds, I had Fury winning the title seven rounds to five and, if anything, I was being kind to Parker. THE RING Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Michael Rosenthal, had the same tally and felt sure the challenger would get the decision on home soil.
When the official scores were announced, however, one even card of 114-114 was overruled by two 118-110 verdicts in favor of Parker. The New Zealand-based puncher had held on to his title by majority decision.
“I was absolutely furious,” said Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, in an interview with RingTV.com. “From ringside, I felt so comfortable close-up that Hughie had won. Parker’s punches were missing, or hitting elbows, or hitting gloves. Hughie kept sticking him with the jab, he was meeting Parker with the straight right hand and he couldn’t miss with the right uppercut.
“There were rounds that could have been shared but, honestly, I only gave Parker two clear rounds. He wasn’t landing, and you can’t win fights if you’re not landing. It’s okay looking busy and throwing combinations but if they’re not landing you can’t score them. To me, Parker landed very little cleanly.”
There is a train of thought, however, that while Fury did neutralize Parker, he could have been much more aggressive. I personally gave Parker five rounds for a reason. He tagged Fury cleanly against the ropes with the right hand on a few occasions and the difference in power was obvious.
“I agree that Hughie could have made the victory more convincing,” acknowledged Hennessy. “Hughie in a way has allowed people to do this to him. Don’t get me wrong, though, and I can’t emphasize this enough, he won that fight and he won it comfortably. He should be the WBO heavyweight champion of the world.
“Would me and (father-trainer) Peter (Fury) have liked him to throw more punches to remove any doubt? Yes, but we felt he won the fight with ease. Everyone in our section at ringside were the same. There were people celebrating with one round to go because we thought it was a landslide.”
Ironically, it was a landslide — the other way. Hennessy is obviously aghast at the two cards which suggest that Fury didn’t even show up.
“Really there’s no words without getting yourself in trouble,” Hennessy said after some deliberation. “I’m not sure what’s behind it. There must be some sort of agenda. Something has gone on behind the scenes or someone is up to no good. Someone has influenced this situation and that’s my honest opinion.
“I want to get to the bottom of it. For me, this is about running people out of the game, or it’s about setting up big money fights in the future. Look at what’s happened with Tyson (Fury) since he won the world title. If you look at this whole UKAD situation. I believe there is a huge agenda out there and there are powerful people behind it. There’s something untoward going on and when all this UKAD stuff comes out in the open, people will begin to realize that.”
Hennessy is of course referring to Tyson Fury’s pending case with UKAD which was postponed shortly after it began in May. There is still no official date for when the panel will reconvene and Fury is unable to apply for a British boxing license until the investigation into his alleged use of a banned substance called nandrolone is complete.
That situation requires a resolution, but meanwhile, Hennessy Sports will seek to protest the Parker-Fury decision with the WBO.
“In an ideal world, neutral judges should score the fight again and see if we can get the decision overturned,” said Hennessy, who probably knows that he is unlikely to see the day. “If that’s not going to happen then we should have a direct rematch.
“The thing is, Peter has no faith in the system anymore. He’s thinking to himself, even if they give us a rematch for purposes of resolving this situation, then they’ll do the same thing to us again.”
Incidentally, Team Parker do not share Hennessy’s view on the decision. Prior to flying back to his homeland, the unbeaten titleholder spoke to Sky Sports in the U.K. about the result.
“I felt I won the fight,” said Parker, who improved to 24-0 (18 knockouts). “I’m very happy to be able to take the belt back to New Zealand. He put up a good contest, but he ran most of the time. We both put on a great fight, so I’m just saying that it’s awesome to get the victory and hard work pays off.
“I feel aggression was good on my side. I feel like he did move well and he was really awkward. I think pressure and harder punches – I felt that we won the fight fairly.”
That opinion was shared by Parker’s promoter, David Higgins of Duco Events.
“I was a little bit nervous after the first card and then very massively relieved when the final card came through,” Higgins told Sky Sports.
“I thought Joseph won a close fight, because he put the pressure on and was more active coming forward and we thought that some of Fury’s punches maybe shouldn’t have been scored, or whatever.”
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing