Rugby

SBW v White Buffalo live in SA

2013-02-05 09:00
Francois Botha (File)
Cape Town - The one is a former world heavyweight boxing champion. The other is a heavyweight rugby champion.

On Friday, Francois Botha and Sonny Bill Williams collide in Brisbane in one of the most intriguing fights of 2013 - to be broadcast live on SuperSport 5 on Friday from 10:00.

Quade Cooper, the enfant terrible of Australian rugby, will make his pro debut on the undercard.

Botha has had 60 fights and Williams just five, but the New Zealander is younger, stronger and fitter. However, anyone who dismisses the 44-year-old “White Buffalo” could be making a big mistake.

Botha brings tons of experience, having fought the who’s who of the division, and still knows how to look after himself in the ring.

“When I catch him he’s going to go,” predicted Botha, who sleeps with a pet chihuahua named Peanuts.

“I’ll drag him into deep water and let him drown. He’s never fought a guy like me, it’s stupid. Sonny should have fought my son, my son would kick his butt and he’s not even a professional.”

Williams, who has vowed to retire if he loses, is unbeaten, but hasn’t fought anyone vaguely world class.

“I can see myself doing boxing full-time in the future, but for that to come to fruition I need to fight guys like this and beat them, otherwise it’s a waste of time,” said the celebrated rugby star.

“Some boxers go their whole lives building a record until people want to watch them. I’ve had to jump really quickly. This fight will be defining. It will tell me if I can keep going.”

The key for Williams will be to box behind his jab, using speed and movement to keep Botha at bay. Botha loves nothing more than a tear-up and will want to engage at close quarters, catching Williams on the break.

Local trainer Colin Nathan, who has worked with Botha, has the final word.

“Sonny Bill looks like a Hollywood movie star. The trouble is he fights like one too.”

HAVE YOUR SAY: Who will you be shouting for on Friday? Early knockout for Botha? Williams on points? How do you see the fight panning out? Send your thoughts to Sport24.

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