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SBW poser: Boxing v All Blacks
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty Images)
Johannesburg - A South African boxing promoter confirms talks have been held with Sonny Bill Williams's agent for a fight that would clash with the All Blacks' series against Ireland.
Golden Gloves representative and former world champion Brian Mitchell was quoted as stating that his group has been speaking to Williams's agent Khoder Nasser who was in Cape Town last week, about a fight on June 16.
Williams, currently playing for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, may be unavailable for the All Blacks' Tests against Ireland if a proposal to fight in South African is accepted.
That date is in the middle of the All Blacks' three-Test series against Ireland and it seems unlikely new All Blacks coach Steve Hansen would allow Williams to be available for only part of that Test window.
It is also likely that Williams would want time off to prepare for such a bout - especially if he is matched against an opponent that can last more than a couple of rounds.
The Chiefs' Super Rugby campaign will take a break during June before cranking-up again in August.
It has been stated that Williams has shown interest in the fight with promoters hoping to enter him in the cruiserweight division - a drop down from the heavyweight division he usually fights in.
The winner of the cruiserweight tournament could win around R500 000. It has been speculated that Williams's opponent could be South African Danie Venter.
Given the number of rumours about Williams's future, and strong hints he will sign with NRL club the Sydney Roosters after his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union expires at the end of this year, the timing of this proposed bout could suggest he has lost interest in furthering his All Blacks career.
If the fight went ahead it could mean Hansen may not want Williams to be part of his plans as be rebuilds for the future and ignore him for the Rugby Championship (old Tri-Nations) campaign and the northern hemisphere tour later in the year.
Boxing is understood to earn a large chunk of Williams's salary and these recent negotiations again suggest how much Nasser wants his client to corner this part of the sports entertainment market.