At his press conference on Tuesday, Sonny Bill Williams made an unusual break with the pre-fight pugilist’s charter by making the rare admission that he is worried.
Thanks to this badly timed confession, I now too am brickin’ it.
It appears that both of us neglected to search deeper than the first two links presented to us by the Google search when we first looked up the back stories of his opponent Francois Botha, and to be honest, why would we?
Personally, I just assumed that this bout would play out like one of those usual Mundine/Nasser style transactions where a sparkling local household name raises a thimble’s worth of sweat in beating the freckles off a slack-jawed youngster / famished Boxcar Willie, and judging by Williams admission of concern, so did he.
However, fluffy musings of a jaunty handful of rounds filled with bruise-free twinkle-toeing were put on-hold by Williams and his connections when vision of a butcher-like Botha annihilating vinyl and disturbing building foundations filtered out to the public forum and in to their camp this week.
Put simply, the penny has dropped to Williams and uneducated types like myself that Botha is a downright maniac armed with the hair-trigger bazookas to land something meaningful that could effectively bruise a brother’s bone marrow for the long term.
How else would you categorise someone with an eHarmony bio like this?
A mountainous block of muscle who considers himself somewhat of a connoisseur in the various modules of belting others, possessing solid clock time in kickboxing and sumo wrestling, who thinks that it’s normal to continue entering punching contests well in to his 40s and who also believes that it’s still completely sane at his age to continue putting peroxide in his goatee, which we all know stings like hell.
And if that doesn’t have you reaching for a night-light, then also consider that his friends, fans and former victims refer to him as ‘The White Buffalo’, which the last time I checked was a creature best known for its habit of unpredictably impaling or stampeding over the top of humans.
And for God’s sake earthlings and Danny Weidler, why has his rap sheet been kept so shielded from the layman up until now?
Why wasn’t it repeatedly thrust forth in the local periodicals that this powder keg has survived quality time inside the ring with other skull-crushers like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Vladimir Klitschko?
No wonder the brown reggies have roared back in to fashion this week.
Botha’s loose cannon qualities combined with the usual pre-match bubbling about weight lost and motivation gained makes him a sparked-up old bloke with cannonball fists, nothing to lose and a small window of opportunity to panel-beat one of world sport’s prettiest faces.
Now before all of you learned boxing types start goin’ off at this unschooled fool, I acknowledge that Botha’s recent record is fairly forgettable and that he’s only 20 odd years away from officially claiming an age pension. He’s not going to school the Kiwi in the fine arts of pugilism before drugging him with a precision jab at the end of an aerobically-taxing test of gladiatorial fitness.
It just seems that Williams’s teeny-weeny display of concern exposes a late arriving awakening that his opponent is wilder and woollier than expected, and the potential to wear that one precise punch that causes serious issues is closer than ever before.
As for my angst?
Of course, there’s the humanitarian concern. I always pray for my fellow man that he avoids such trauma as the abolition of grey matter and the infliction of gory facial abrasions that have the potential to affect endorsement deals and one’s chances with the ladies.
Plus there’s the possible harm to the continuation of his evolution as a global sporting megastar, which is I suppose is slightly interesting.
But mainly, the major contributor to my unsettled sleeping patterns before Friday’s bout is the fact that I am from the Rooster family, a place that has moved heaven, earth and cap space to accommodate the former All Black for a fleeting 8-month period where one-handed match-winning and unbroken spells of fitness is not wished for, but expected.
So please Sonny Bill, don’t forget you are due at training next week for the first time.
We would appreciate you in one piece.