Should Sonny Bill Williams give up boxing after the Botha fiasco?
Sonny Bill Williams is an "idiot adrift on a float of publicity" and his fight with Francois Botha was like playing tennis against "elderly women and fat chaps", boxing enthusiast Sir Robert Jones says.
Williams won the fight in Brisbane on Friday night on points, but there have been claims and counter-claims about the intended length of the bout, about whether Botha was tested for banned substances, and whether it was a World Boxing Association (WBA) international heavyweight title bout.
"This sort of thing was quite predictable, and who's to blame? The media are to blame," Jones told RadioLive.
"Right from the time that Williams has decided he wanted to take up boxing he has been given an absurd amount of attention, bogus opponents have been set up."
Jones said everything about Friday's fight was "seedy and nasty".
"It's an invasion of a pure sport ... by impure people," he said.
"I exclude Williams from that.
"He just seems to be an idiot adrift on a float of publicity, but it should never be given this attention and ... it wouldn't once. I mean, what's going on in the world?"
The event gave boxing a bad image, when it had nothing to do with the sport.
Jones said Williams "seems to be a very unsettled person, changing countries and sport on an annual basis".
He also said the WBA was a "nonsense" and a "ratbag" organisation, and described South African Botha, 44, as a geriatric in boxing terms who reached his zenith last century and was "knocked out by everybody".
The championship belt Botha and Williams were supposedly fighting for was "bogus".
"There's no such championship," Jones said.
"Imagine if he [Williams] suddenly decided he wanted to take up tennis, and so he's matched with elderly women and fat chaps who've never held a tennis racket.
"This is the equivalent of what happened with boxing with massive publicity. I mean, it's absurd.
"Then they dig up some tennis player who's actually dying of cancer, or something, who won Wimbledon, or who was a Wimbledon player in 1966, or something, and give it all this hype. This is not a bad analogy."
Jones said genuine boxing was doing well around the world.
"This is the thing that hurts," he said.
"This sort of stuff is commanding the publicity. That's probably because we don't have any prominent boxers here at the moment.
"We've got one or two who are promising, again they are over-hyped. I manage one of them, and I say to the media, 'look, don't over-hype him, you might be disappointed, he's yet to prove himself - he looks promising, that's all'."
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Botha, whose claims that he did not know the WBA international heavyweight bout would only last 10 rounds have also now been discredited, failed a drugs test on the eve of the fight.
Results of a urine sample submitted by the South African in Brisbane last Tuesday under WBA regulations show he had phentermine - a banned stimulant - in his system.
The drugs test, which has now been forwarded to the WBA's global headquarters in Panama, also detected benzodiazepine, which suggested Botha was also using a valium-type product.
Since the fight Williams has tried to placate Botha by agreeing to a rematch in South Africa, but it seems unlikely to be sanctioned by the WBA. If it goes ahead, it will be at the end of his National Rugby League campaign with the Sydney Roosters.
Botha demanded a rematch, with the 44-year-old claiming he had been robbed of the title because the fight had been shortened from the regulation 12 rounds to 10.
- © Fairfax NZ News