By Brad Walter
Sonny Bill Williams secures his seventh professional boxing win with victory against American boxer Chauncy Welliver in Sydney.
Anthony Mundine has cast doubt on a fight between Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen at the end of next season by suggesting the NSW Origin captain would not be ready for such a match-up for two years.
After Williams and Gallen won their respective bouts at Saturday night's Footy Show Fight Night, all the talk at Allphones Arena was of the pair getting in the ring against each other to headline the event next year. Channel Nine boss David Gyngell has publicly backed the bout.
But Mundine, who was in Williams' corner for his eight-round unanimous points decision over American heavyweight Chauncy Welliver, and had helped train him and fellow All Blacks star Liam Messam, said Gallen needed more time to prepare for the fight as he will not have another bout until after the coming NRL season with Cronulla.
"I think that is unrealistic; I think 24 months time would be about right," Mundine said.
"Sonny has got a bit more experience than Gallen so in a couple of years I reckon that will be a good fight."
Mundine and others in the Williams camp were impressed by how much he had improved since his last fight, against South African heavyweigh Frans Botha, which ended in controversy at 10 rounds. Many thought it had been scheduled as a 12-round bout.
Williams said he had learned a lot from that fight that helped him against 137kg Welliver, who used his weight and experience to steamroll the 29-year-old into the ropes, where he risked having points deducted if he pushed the 70-fight veteran away. Instead, Willliams had to rely on footwork and movement.
Welliver, who has sparred with Wladimer Klitchsko, Mike Tyson and Davd Tua, has never been stopped and repeatedly taunted Williams by poking out his chin whenever he received a blow to the head.
"At the weigh-in, I think he weighed 11 or 14kg lighter than when he fought Lucas Browne and he had a shiner so I knew he was coming to beat me and knock me out and I just tried to make sure I was as prepared as I could be mentally," Williams said.
"I was happy I had a full two months preparation because I knew that I could go the distance so when he was doing the niggle in there I knew that was just his experience.
"I made sure I got a good preparation and did the hard yards because without that you get put in those situations like I was in the Botha fight.
"I was handling it pretty well and I felt good for the first eight rounds, and then I guess my memory was blank the last couple of rounds.
"But I could tell from sparring and just training in general that I had improved a lot, I felt a lot more fluid ... and hopefully I showed people that I improved as a boxer.
"Obviously I am a football player first, but whenever I put on the gloves I try to not embarrass myself or disrespect the sport by trying my hardest and trying to improve."