The Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha fight debacle has picked up plenty of attention among the New Zealand boxing fraternity, with David Tua’s camp hoping to offer Williams to a fight that would “restore credibility” to boxing.
"This business with the rounds looked really bad, so we'd like to give Sonny Bill a chance to restore some credibility to the sport," promoter Dave Higgins, of Duco, tells the New Zealand Herald. "Right now we are looking for an opponent for David [Tua], and we'd like to offer that fight to Sonny Bill and his people.”
But Higgins doesn’t believe Williams’ camp would even consider a fight against Tua and would instead surrender the New Zealand title.
"I'm not sure they will take the fight. I'm thinking they would probably rather drop the belt than take the fight.
"They always refer to Sonny Bill as the New Zealand heavyweight champion, but that's a bit of a joke too. I mean, how can you be the heavyweight champion and not rated in the top five? But Khoder Nasser [Williams' manager] has been using it as a marketing tool.”
The former All Black won the WBA International Heavyweight title and belt by way of unanimous decision 97-91, 98-94 and 97-91 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, amid controversial circumstances.
Comments and tweets from disgruntled boxing fans flooded the internet after the fight was cut short from 12 rounds to 10.
At that stage of the fight, Williams was out on his feet, forced to hang on to his opponent.
"It wasn't good for the sport, not good for the credibility of the sport,” says Higgins. “It's my understanding that all the marketing materials and communications and the programmes had it as 12 rounds. So we talked about it and thought we would give Sonny Bill the opportunity to go up against another Warrior [Tua] of the same kind of vintage.
"In those circumstances, I would imagine that all it takes is for the promoter to front up to a judge or a referee, eyeball them and say, 'It's a 10-rounder, got it?' No one worried about credibility or the integrity of the sport would ever dream of doing that, but that's all it would take," says Higgins.