In a battle of the WBO’s top two super-middleweight contenders, Zach Parker comes out on top against Rohan Murdock
I hate to be that guy, especially at the not-exactly-ancient age of 38, but in the old days, the Manchester Arena match of Zach Parker vs Rohan Murdock would have likely been marketed as a decent international 10-rounder, rather than a 12 between the WBO’s top two ranked super-middleweight contenders. A good, well-matched fight between talented boxers who have yet to prove they can excel beyond domestic level, the aforementioned ratings made this a de facto final eliminator, and to take on the winner of Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders no less.
Nevertheless, both men were hungry. Tall and technically skilled Parker, unbeaten and from Derbyshire, shaped up well against the strong and athletic Australian Murdock. The latter, 24-1 coming in, had feasted on faded veterans and fellow hopefuls, while Parker took a controversial decision over Darryll Williams to win the vacant British title in his previous biggest fight, 16 months ago. As it transpired, Parker proved the superior all-round fighter, withstandng a mid-rounds surge from his rival to take over and find an explosive finish in round 11.
Parker edged the early rounds, landing jabs from both stances and employing adept upper body movement in defence. From the third he began to engage Murdock on the inside, landing the cleaner blows. Murdock was deceptively clever, often advancing with his hands low, hoping to lure his opponent into counters. His sharp right hand was particularly effective.
Murdock had fast feet and moved unpredictably to set up his punches. He enjoyed good rounds four and five, but a marked-up Parker came back strongly in the sixth. I had it 4-2 in favour of the Brit at halfway.
Rohan cursed himself at the close of round seven, looking tired and having been beaten to the punch consistently. Murdock had completed 10 rounds on four previous occasions but always in one-sided contests. Parker vs Williams was a see-saw 12 that likely stood the Woodville man in good stead here.
Parker appeared increasingly comfortably as the time ticked by, throwing economically but generally proving more accurate and defensively responsible. Zach stepped up his output in the 10th, coming forward trying to bully Murdock, leaning on and landing to both head and body.
Parker unloaded a barrage in the 11th and Murdock tried to hold. Parker did not allow him to and instead uncorked a huge left hook to floor him heavily. Murdock rose bravely and wanted to continue but referee Phil Edwards took a long look and rightly ruled him out, at 2-58 of the round..
Parker is a tricky customer and still improving but, for me, not near ready for Canelo or Saunders.