If the you thought the farcical stories surrounding the Sonny Bill Williams/Frans Botha bout detailed in a previous post were done then then I’m afraid to say you were wrong. Botha, as bellicose and unrepentant as ever, is now saying that he was offered $150,000 to throw the bout.
To quote from the story:
Speaking from Durban, Botha told LiveSport radio this morning he was picked up from his hotel on the Tuesday night before the fight and taken to a “very nice park” where he was asked to lose on purpose.
“My cellphone was confiscated and given to the guy in the car,” Botha said. “I was being walked and during this walk I was made an offer of $150,000 to throw the fight.
“I just said, `no, I can’t do this’.”
Unsurprisingly Khoder Nasser, Sonny Bill Williams’ manager, is denying this happened. I doubt the truth will ever completely come out on this with the entire tale simply entering boxing folklore as yet another example of the dark side of this great sport.
On a side note, Alex Leapai, the Australian heavyweight contender who also benefited from some bizarre acts by officials (in his case a swift count for his opponent) is now setting up a bout with Botha. I appreciate why this would be an attractive bout for both parties; Leapai needs wins over name opponents, however badly faded, to get back on the world scene and Botha is likely to make more money for a bout in Australia where there is still media interest following this farce then he is anywhere else.
In other news and just to remind us that boxing skulduggery isn’t simply an Australian concern, I present the knockout of the century:
(About 11-12 seconds in is the devastating blow)
The boxer not falling over is Ray Edwards, a former NFL player who is looking to reinvent himself as a boxer. The unfortunate boxer/stuntman is Nick Capes, a 0-3 scrub who had lost by stoppage in the first in each of his previous three bouts.
I have mixed feelings on this. Ray Edwards may not be a great boxer but he is 28 year old, 258lbs athlete (and elite athlete at that)… quite frankly a fairly scary man to have stood across the ring from you. His original opponent apparently backed out at the weigh-in and Capes, who weighs in around 200lbs for his bouts, was called up as a late replacement and had no idea who he was facing.
Can I really blame a man who likely earned a hundred dollars or so (possibly less) for taking the easy way out? It’s not like this was a meaningful bout or that he was ever likely to win. He was there to be a punching bag… and with a sport with the long term injury history boxing has, was he really to blame for diving down in the way he did.
At the same time, there is meant to be a code of honesty in boxing. Even if you’re not really trying to win, you still have to take your shots. Look at Edward’s previous bout against the equally awful (but much larger) Cory Briggs.
Briggs clearly doesn’t want to be there and as soon as he takes a few punches he turns his back, takes a knee and stays down. But at least he took those punches. He didn’t flop through the air at the mere thought of a punch.
Capes has apparently been suspended, Edwards will likely continue his journey in boxing and once again, the entire thing will likely fade from memory. But as a fan who loves journeymen (and you can read my gushing admiration for heavyweight journeyman Daniil Peretyatko here), it always makes me a bit sad to see people who play a vital role in boxing, however poorly rewarded, not just not try… but not even pretend. Peter Buckley, a man called “The Worst Boxer Ever” may not have always come to win, but he never came to lose in this way…