Joe Joyce Chin Is Otherworldly But Could Be Downfall Too
(This commentary from David Payne in the U.K. on the Joe Joyce KO win in Manchester over Joseph Parker Saturday night originally appeared on his site- www.boxingwriter.co.uk)
The weekend reluctantly succumbs to a grumbling Monday, children scramble onto back seats and the drizzle of late September sneers at those too lazy to cut the lawn the day before. In the ensuing silence, thoughts, ideas compete, ebbing and flowing for those of us wrestling with obligation, the should dos afforded by time and solitude.
Boxing lurches in to frame among the unwashed breakfast pots, the dogs that need exercise and the bill that needs paying. It isn’t always this way. Golovkin and Canelo III came and went leaving little fat to chew on by the Monday, despite the generational greatness of the pairing.
A tired episode in a great rivalry. The money laden, but inferior, Godfather III if you will. Years too late.
Into the wash of their encounter stepped Shakur Stevenson, the next, next Pretty Boy. He has predecessors as would be successor to Floyd and his Uber-wealth. 25 years old and 22 ounces over the limit. He won. Cemented his status. But missing weight brought more headlines than the fight. The nature of the modern mediums. Words, failure, toxicity create more wake than quality, preparation, success.
And so it fell to the heavyweights in Manchester, England. The two nice guys called Joe, Joyce and Parker, met in a crossroads bout. Was this the top of Joyce’s arc or could he continue his climb versus Parker, a man who had soared with Joshua and Ruiz already? Expectations had been modest. Joyce, huge, lumbering but effective. Parker, stout, sharper and seasoned.
The fight exceeded its billing despite providing no surprises on form or style. Parker moved laterally a little less than expected, teased the bigger man forward, punched in combination on the counter. Joyce deployed his usual strategy of walking his prey down. High output, landing and starving Parker of breathing space. It is a peculiar reality that both strategies were working. Joyce was making Parker work from bell to bell; the 30-year-old was breathing hard from the 3rd round. Despite being ahead because he was landing thunderous right hands and almost every power punch he threw.
It is the sight of Joyce absorbing a score or more of those right hands from Parker flush on the chin and not even registering the impact with a blink that glowed brightest this morning. Parker isn’t Joe Louis or Mike Tyson. But he has good technique on the right hand, throws it with respectable hand speed and weighed a career heavy 255 pounds for this bout. One of boxing’s most used idioms is, “once you get to heavyweight every punch can be a knockout punch’, or a variant thereof. Joe Joyce spent Saturday night defying this and in doing so, breaking Parker’s heart and, ultimately, his resistance.
There have been those walloped similarly. A great many heavyweights have ‘held’ shots from punchers like Parker, and bigger knockout artists than him too. But usually, they survive with evasion, clinching, deception and retreat. Anything to allow the moment to pass, to permit the nervous system to reboot.
Joe Joyce? He just stepped forward and threw more jabs, left hooks and right hands. In the same way, of his contemporaries, Tyson Fury has altered the narrative about men his size being mobile, Joyce has redefined the possible in his own career. Not just because he takes a shot as well as any heavyweight of recent memory, because he can fight too, but the knowledge he is almost impossible to deter or derail with either power or work-rate. There is a growing irresistibility about him despite his ponderous hand speed and the inherent simplicity of his style. Nobody will relish the prospect of tackling him.
Fury, Wilder, Joshua……I don’t recall a single mention of Joe Joyce. Now, next week, or down the line. His name never enters their interviews and endless outpourings in the media.
After Saturday, it is clear to see why. When the Joyce challenge comes, they may remember they’ve dogs to walk and pots to wash.