Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sonny Bill Williams beats Frans Botha amid new boxing controversy

Wherever boxing goes controversy is sure to follow. This time it was down in Brisbane, Australia where rugby star Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand took on aging heavyweight Frans Botha of South Africa. The 44-year-old Botha has a wealth of experience, but was fighting a 27-year-old novice, which evened things out in the eyes of many fans. The Feb. 8 bout was billed as the WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, but somebody might have forgotten to inform the WBA about it since nobody from the boxing organization bothered to show up.

However, that wasn’t the major talking point after the fight. The contest was also advertised as a 12-round bout, but somebody changed it to 10 rounds without telling the broadcasters, judges and even Botha himself. Williams was ahead on points heading into the 10th round, but Botha, suddenly realizing it was his last chance at victory, went on the attack and had him out on his feet at the end of the round.

The fight was stopped at this point and the scorecards were added up. Williams was announced the winner by tallies of  98-94, 97-91, and 97-91. The victory saw him raise his record to 6-0 with 3 Kos while Botha dropped to 48-9-3 with 29 Kos. Botha was furious after the fight and claimed that he had no idea the bout had been changed from 12 to 10 rounds. However, his promoter apparently agreed to the change and didn’t inform him of it.
Botha said the whole thing was a farce and some people agreed with him, mainly the WBA and local bookmakers. Some of the betting shops refunded wagers on Botha and also gave bettors their money back if they had predicted the round the fight would end. Alan Moore, who was one of the judges, said the first time he heard about the change in length was when the ring announcer informed the crowd over the arena’s speaker system before the 10th round that it would in fact be the last round.

A New Zealand betting company known as TAB said it triple checked the length of the fight because this type of thing has happened before in a Williams bout. The company said it has taken wagers on three of his pro fights and two of them have been shortened without the public knowing about it. The fans were also quite upset since the contest was broadcast on a pay-per-view basis and many of them demanded their money back.

Tinus Strydom, Botha’s promoter, said he would be filing a protest as soon as possible with the WBA, but Khoder Nasser, the manager of Williams said they were just sore losers and looking for an excuse for the loss. Brad Vocale, who is the WBA representative for the Oceania region, said the public was defrauded, because he doesn’t believe the WBA actually sanctioned the fight and because Botha signed a contract for a 12-round bout.

He added that Botha, who has fought the likes of Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Wladimir Klitschko, and Evander Holyfield, shouldn’t be fighting somebody who had just five pro bouts and isn’t rated, for a WBA title. He said Botha has won just one bout in his last six and at 44 years old he doesn’t understand how these two would be battling it out for a vacant belt.

The WBA hasn’t made an official announcement about the farce as of yet, but one thing that is for sure is that the bout wasn’t shortened after it had started. It was changed to 10 rounds before it began, but it’s unclear how much notice Botha had or if he even knew at all. If he didn’t then his beef should be with his own camp. A rematch could definitely be in the cards.

www.bet365.com  has the latest odds in the world of boxing and mixed martial arts along with all of the other major sports events
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