McMillan declines Ryder's challenge to box
Craig McMillan has declined an offer to fight Jesse Ryder in a charity boxing match next month.
Ryder challenged McMillan to don gloves and duke it out as a sparring partner on the same card as Shane Cameron v Monte Barrett on July 5 in Auckland.
Ryder's request stems from criticism made by McMillan of Ryder during last summer's T20 match between New Zealand and South Africa when Ryder, coming back into the side, used nine balls to make one run for 50, in a match the Black Caps narrowly lost.
The bad blood was created when McMillan said at the time that he thought Ryder put himself ahead of the team.
Yesterday McMillan said the bout, scheduled for three two-minute rounds, would not be a goer.
"I have no desire to box thanks. It is being billed to settle a grudge and I don't want to be a part of it.
"Jesse has done some boxing-related fitness stuff in the gym for the past six months and I have not done anything like that. I'm away commentating in Malaysia for two weeks during the lead-up and wouldn't have the time to do the work required. It would be a set-up."
Ryder has worked out at Billy Graham's Naenae gymnasium in Lower Hutt punching the bag, skipping and doing drills but has not sparred in the ring.
McMillan's New Zealand cricket career attracted comment during his playing days. His weight was a talking point as is Ryder's and McMillan battled illness (diabetes) while Ryder has had alcohol-related issues – the latest flare-up in Napier during the South African tour where he was dropped from the team.
McMillan felt it was a good idea for Ryder not to take an NZC contract, giving himself the time to sort himself out.
"I hope he can get things sorted because everyone would like Ryder at his best in the team. Theoretically Jesse has another five or six good years left in him at top level."
McMillan cautioned that Ryder should be careful about not being away too long from international level as other players were always lurking ready to claim the spot.
McMillan recently returned from a seven-week television commentary stint at the Indian Premier League and departs later this month for a fortnight in Malaysia, working at the ICC's Asia Under 19 championships.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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