Joseph Parker has been arranging a homecoming fight this summer
By Richard Damerell and James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 08/07/20 11:33am
Joseph Parker is locked in heated negotiations for a fight against New Zealand rival Junior Fa that threatens to stall plans for his go back to the ring.
The former WBO heavyweight champion had hoped to resume his career in August or September, but a proposed grudge fight against Fa, his former amateur foe, has hit a stumbling block as a result of fiery dispute over finances.
Parker’s manager David Higgins has suggested that Fa backed far from a summer showdown after he recently tabled an offer.
Higgins told Sky Sports: “Two days ago we offered Junior Fa a lot more than $500,000 [New Zealand dollars] to fight Joseph Parker. That’s 10 times the biggest fight he’s ever endured. The second-biggest fight in the history of New Zealand.
“The only bigger purse has been when Parker fought Andy Ruiz Jr and won the world title. Junior Fa was offered the second biggest purse ever to fight the guy he had been calling out for 2 yrs. We can not get a response.
“The only explanation is Junior Fa is using Joseph Parker to build his name and then he’s offered $500,000, enough to buy a house, and he runs.”
Fa’s promoter Lou DiBella insists the offer was unsuitable for such a high-profile fight in New Zealand and will hold further talks with the unbeaten 30-year-old to discuss his next career move.
In a response to Higgins’ comments, DiBella told Sky Sports: “That’s not true. I don’t believe in negotiating through the press, that’s not how it’s done when you genuinely wish to make a fight.
“The guaranteed in full money in the offer was $200,000 US. I found the offer, guarantee and upside, to be totally unacceptable for one of the greatest fights in New Zealand boxing history. I did not accept it. I will be discussing it further with Junior’s team fleetingly.
They can not assert how large the fight is and act like Junior is an insignificant participant.
“Under Higgins’ offer, the fight would need to do huge business for the Fa side to see $500,000 NZ between us. They can’t assert how big the fight is and act like Junior is an insignificant participant.”
Higgins hopes to finalise an agenda with promoter Eddie Hearn to stage Parker’s fight on home soil, but has questioned whether Fa is ready to thrash out terms.
“I like Lou DiBella, he is one of the good guys, but he’s channelling his President Trump with this specific revision of history.
“Here are the facts. Junior Fa, who has fought no-one, has been calling Joseph Parker’s name through the media for two years to create his name in New Zealand. The Parker-Fa fight has meaning in New Zealand, however, not really outside. If DiBella thinks otherwise, I invite him to place an offer on the table for international tv rights. He won’t.
“In any case, behind the scenes we’ve offered a $200,000 US dollar guarantee. DiBella is correct. That’s more than $300,000 New Zealand dollars. If the fight is massive, then that will grow to over fifty percent a million New Zealand dollars and well over $300,000 US.
“DiBella and Fa, they truly are telling me the fight is massive and they want more money, so I’ve given them a sliding scale. If it’s medium, they’ll get the $200,000 US, which in addition would nevertheless be in the most notable five purses in the annals of New Zealand. If the fight is massive, it will go directly to the second biggest purse in the history of New Zealand.
“It’s a bad look if they do not take the fight, so that’s why they do not like it in the media. Long story short, should they believe Junior Fa would win the fight, they wouldn’t have trouble.
“Joseph Parker is the A-side, he should really be paid triple Junior Fa, but he could be willing to fight Junior Fa for the exact same money. They are running scared is what’s going on.”