SBW is just stupid, bellows White Buffalo
SONNY Bill Williams is stupid to be taking on a fight against a boxer who faced Mike Tyson in the ring.
That disparaging comment comes from the All Black's opponent, Fransie Botha, the 44-year-old South African heavyweight known as The White Buffalo.
Botha was like a buffalo in a china shop when he arrived in Australia for his World Boxing Association fight against Williams.
"He should be fighting my son," said Botha of Williams. "He weighs only 70kg and is still an amateur."
Botha indicated that Williams had some cheek taking him on. "He's got a lot of balls," Botha told Brisbane's Courier-Mail yesterday.
"Why is he taking this chance? He should stick to rugby. I will hit him so hard that when he tries to catch the ball, he'll just miss it.
"When I catch him he's going to go. I'll drag him to deep water and let him drown. He's never fought a guy like me; it's stupid."
Williams takes a perfect 5-0 record into the fight, but the South African is a clear step up for Williams, the former All Black who has signed to play rugby league for the Sydney Roosters.
Botha has been fighting for 23 years and is a skilled ringmeister. He has fought, albeit lost, to Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield.
He is in the twilight of his career and goes into Friday's bout having lost his last three fights. But he proved in those bouts that he can still go the distance, lasting up to the 10th round in each - a distance Williams has yet to reach during his five fights.
"In real life, he should never have an opportunity to fight a guy like me with just five fights to his name," said Botha. "I'm only taking this fight because of his notoriety in rugby."
Williams, 27, said it was time he stepped up to fight an experienced opponent.
"It's definitely going to put my name out there internationally if I win because it's for a WBA international belt."
But Botha's promoter Thinus Strydom said his charge would need to knock out Williams to get a decision in Brisbane, as winning on points in a foreign country was near impossible.
"Sonny Bill is young and is also a hot favourite," said Strydom. "So there is a lot of interest is him.
"But I am confident that Botha will knock him out. He is in excellent shape - the best I have seen him in for many years. Botha must have lost 10kg - 15kg and that shows how serious he is about this fight."
The fight is on Friday at 11am. - Additional reporting by Bongani Magasela