Eddie Hearn believes the pressure of facing Anthony Joshua will be too much for Joseph Parker
Hearn is on the verge of announcing a deal for Joshua and Parker to fight in the coming spring, a bout that will unify the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight belts.
For Parker, who won the title while it was vacant via a majority decision against Andy Ruiz, facing Joshua will represent a significant step up in power and ability from his last opponent: Hughie Fury.
And while Hearn admits Parker’s 24-0 record is not to be ignored, the Matchroom Boxing promoter is not convinced the New Zealander will be able to cope with facing Joshua away from home.
“Can Parker deal with the pressure? That’s only something we will find out on the night,” Hearn told Stuff.
“He will never have or never will experience anything like this.
“Only the special fighters are capable of experiencing it and rising above it and actually performing
“I don’t think Parker will crumble but will he lose his head? Quite possibly.
“If he doesn’t and he can execute his game plan, then he may be a very special talent.
“I think Parker is a lot better fighter than he has looked in his last couple of fights, everybody in boxing knows that.
“But can he execute that performance under this sort of pressure?
“That’s what everybody’s asking, because we know AJ can.”
Hearn is understood to be eyeing a return to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff for the fight; Joshua’s last fight also took place in there with 78,000 watching the Brit stop Carlos Takam in the 10th round.
And the WBA and IBF world champion’s proven pulling power has seen him negotiate a deal worth between 65 and 70 per cent of the purse, a figure that had previously been a stumbling block in talks between the two camps.
Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield on the left ear in the third round of their WBA Heavyweight match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1997 (SKY)
But that element of the contract is understood to have now been agreed and Joshua himself is confident the fight will indeed happen.
“Negotiations are tough, but, in terms of the love of the sport, I won’t let that get in the way from achieving my goal because legacy is important to me and I think we’re achieving something,” Joshua told the BBC.
“To hold all the belts has never been done before, so I won’t let negotiations get in the way of securing my legacy and what I could achieve in the sport.
“I think we’re 95 per cent of the way there with completing with Joseph Parker.”