Johannesburg - Francois Botha, the South African boxer known as "The White Buffalo",
appeared to be halted irrevocably after he suffered a stunning, second
round technical knockout (TKO) defeat against budding New Zealand
heavyweight prodigy Joseph Parker in Auckland on Thursday.
After being battered into submission by a flurry of two-handed blows, the 44 year-old Botha proclaimed he would "be back".
those in a capacity-filled stadium, however, it was apparent the long
period in which Botha had been a force in international boxing had come
to an end - and retirement might well be the best option.
GALLERY: Botha vs ParkerVIDEO: White Buffalo KO'd
the referee immediately stopped the fight, after two minutes 32 seconds
of the second round, as the bulky Botha slumped to the canvas for the
verdict to go down as a TKO, it would have been a straight knockout with
Botha having no chance of beating the 10-count.
Parker took the
initiative from the opening bell and clearly won the first round, while
demonstrating the kind of maturity which belied the fact that this was
only his sixth professional contest at the relatively tender age for a
heavyweight of 21.
"He took me by surprise," said Botha
afterwards and there appeared little doubt the veteran South African,
who had fought numerous highly-acknowledged world champions of the
calibre of Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, had
underestimated an opponent who was less than half his age.
with Parker's vastly superior movement round the ring, punching power
and agility for someone weighing over 102kg, it would have made little
difference how Botha had rated his opponent.
It was Botha's 10th
defeat in 62 fights, while Parker had ended five of his six successes,
in an unbeaten career, inside the distance.
Known as "Explosive
Joseph" by his adoring New Zealand supporters, Botha had minimised the
Parker challenge in pre-fight conferences and labelled him "Baby Joseph"
"I can't understand what Baby Joseph and his handlers
must be thinking in taking on my iron fists at such an early stage of
his career," said Botha in pre-fight verbal sparring.
"But that's not my business. I've got a job to do and I'll end it early to minimise the damage done to Baby Joseph."
Ironically, it turned out in reverse as the outclassed Botha admitted afterwards.
"Parker has a great future in the ring if he is handled properly."
a somewhat bizarre programme, including two women's title fights and
one between two midgets, Botha had some measure of compensation for his
humiliating demise when his son, Marcel, achieved a victory in his
professional boxing debut.
The younger Botha outpointed
Australian Jeremy Sebastian over four rounds against an opponent who had
now lost both his fights as a professional.