Given Saturday’s fight night in Manchester is sponsored by the latest movie in the Rocky series spinoff – Creed III – it is perhaps fitting that local lad Jack Massey’s tilt at Joseph Parker is being billed as an unlikely shot at glory for a plucky, down on his luck pugilist.
“This fight is the golden ticket. Taking Joseph Parker’s scalp is going to change my life forever,” said Massey at Thursday’s official press conference.
“It is like having a lottery ticket. I’m going to be a very dangerous man on Saturday night.”
That sentiment was echoed by Ben Shalom, the chief executive of event promoter Boxxer.
“This fight came about because we know Jack Massey’s story,” said Shalom when quizzed on what appeared an unlikely match to make.
“Boxing is a cruel, cruel sport and not everyone gets the opportunities they deserve. When you come to somebody’s home town and they have been looking for that opportunity for a long, long time and it presents itself on plate – we put it to Jack and we knew he would take it with both hands. As he said it is his lottery ticket. This is what dreams are made of.”
“I’m going to give him a very warm welcoming punching his face,” said Parker.
“If I can execute the plan and go out there and have some fun then everything will flow. I am just going to go out there and be dominant and show him what a real heavyweight can do.
“I haven’t overlooked him, I haven’t underestimated him. I am treating Jack like he is the heavyweight champion of the world.”
That sounds like bad news for Massey, whose status as a home town favourite was also challenged by Parker.
“I have fought in Manchester more times [than him] I think,” Parker said.
“It is my home town.”
Massey brushed off suggestions he would not be able to hold his own with Parker as he steps up from cruiserweight for the biggest challenge of his career.
“I wouldn’t be getting in there if I didn’t think I was capable of beating Joseph Parker. It is a fight I am more than capable of winning.
“Everyone knows what my game plan is going to be. I am going to drag him in to the back end of the fight. I think he will tire towards the end of the fight and then I am going to make him pay.”