David Haye has revealed he is open to rating Joe Joyce higher than Anthony Joshua in his heavyweight rankings – but only if he was to stop Joseph Parker this Saturday night.
Joyce, who has stopped all bar one of his opponents to date, takes on former Joshua foe Parker at the Manchester Arena this weekend for the WBO interim world title.
Talking about the matchup and what a victory would mean for either man, Haye said:
“I think both fighters have what it takes to fight Oleksandr Usyk. If Parker knocks Joyce out, how can he not be ready for him?
He has beaten every man he has needed to. He has worked his way up the rankings. It’s the same for Joyce.
If Joyce manages to beat Joseph Parker he will be ready. Parker is an undefeated heavyweight who has just defeated a former heavyweight champion.”
And Haye told Sportsmail that he believes a victory inside the distance over the New Zealander, something ‘AJ’ couldn’t manage, would see ‘The Juggernaut’ leapfrog AJ in the heavyweight pecking order.
“If he manages to knock him out and stop him, that is something Joshua couldn’t do and something Dillian Whyte couldn’t do.”
“So it’s a must win fight for both fighters. They need to perform well so when it comes to the fight with Usyk they head into that fight ready and with momentum behind them.”
Knocking Joseph Parker out is much easier said than done – Parker is yet to be stopped in his 30-fight professional career to date.
The fight between the WBO #1 and #2 ranked contenders is seen by those in the trade as a genuine 50/50 contest, with fans and pundits struggling to pick between the two men.
The WBO interim title being on the line should guarantee the victor this weekend either a shot at Usyk – or anyone else who may hold the belt – or an immediate elevation to full champion should the title become vacant.
That being said, the stakes could not be much higher – particularly for the now 37 year-old Joyce, who you would