Curtis Parker is someone whose name has popped up a number of times during my podcast. Coach Billy Padden who was the first guest I interviewed was a sparring partner of Parkers(the two shared the same coach in Willie Reddish) and Coach Billy Briscoe also mentioned Parker as the best gym fighter he had seen.
Curtis Parker was described as the Middleweight Joe Frazier, an apt nickname for a fighter who like Frazier, hailed from Philadelphia and was also not considered tall for the division he was competing in.
The video below looks at some of the tactics Parker used to close the gap against his taller opponents and he would gradually grind them down and beat them into submission.
You’ll notice Parker liked to step in whilst parrying and shooting the jab, this served two purposes – not just did it help him close the gap but it also meant there was momentum on his jab so if that landed, the blow was much harder than it would have been had he not stepped in with the parry and shoot.
The left hook was another punch used to stay on top of the opponent. Parker would step or almost leap in with a step whilst throwing the left hook, this kept him close to the opponent so he could continue breaking them down and working the body. Parker also used this leaping left hook to cut off the ring when his opponent was trying to move off the ropes.
The dip was another method Parker used extremely well to cut the distance. Parker would use this one of two ways – either jabbing and then dipping in under to close the gap or he would dip in behind the opponents jab. Some may point out he was also doubling up by using his head as a weapon when dipping.
We’ve seen boxers such as Marvin Hagler and Gennady Golovkin both step forward to switch to southpaw to maintain the pressure and Parker was no different, if he missed with his punch he would simply let momentum take him forward into a southpaw stance and continue to work his opponent off this stance, keeping up the pressure and shifting back into his usual orthodox stance.
Lastly we see Parker employing a forward roll, he does not roll step to either side but directly in, keeping pressure on the opponent and again some would say this was another smart tactic to use his head as a weapon whilst getting in close.