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SBW vs Botha | Sonny Bill Williams is the Favorite?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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According to sources, rugby star Sonny Bill Williams (5-0) is favored against former 1990's heavyweight contender Frans Botha (48-8-3-1NC, 29 KOs) in their showdown Friday. Has Botha slipped that much?

Despite Botha being 44 (and an old 44 at that) and well past his prime, how can a novice pro with five bouts be favored over a guy with 60 fights and who has faced the likes of Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson and Michael Moorer?

But the rumors are true.

South African bookies, Ladbrokes, have listed Sonny Bill Williams as a 8/11 favorite for SBW vs Botha.

Frans Botha has only one win in his last six bouts so perhaps that weighed heavily in the minds of bookies?  Or maybe they were swayed by the fighters' physiques at the weigh-in?

The chiseled All Black rugby star appeared in fantastic condition, sporting a six pack and well-muscled arms and pecs. Weighing in at 236 lbs (107 kg), he appeared to be in fine shape - But is he in "fighting shape?"

Being in terrific shape visually and cardio-wise certainly don't mean a man can go twelve hard rounds with a formidable foe.

Frans Botha, unlike his ripped opponent, is no Adonis and never has been. Even in his prime during the mid 1990s, Botha had a 'lumberjack' physique devoid of chisel and visual muscle mass, and things were no different at the SBW vs Williams weigh-in.

However, if there's one thing that should be of great concern to SBW - aside from Botha's vast experience -  IS the South African's weight. Botha came in at 249 lbs (113 kg), his lowest weight in over 10 years.

If Botha's weight is any indication of his level of preparation, the 27 year old Sonny Bill Williams could be in for a long night.... Or, perhaps, a very short, painful one.

"Ah, he's showed up, so at least there's going to be a fight, I thought he was scared and not showing up," chimed Botha after SBW joined the weigh-in ceremony 16 minutes late. 

"Now the Buffalo can take some neck bones and crack some ribs."

Not to be outgunned, a seemingly more subdued SBW quipped, "The showman's come out in him. He's been talking it up."

"It's a privilege to fight him, but I won't be asking for his signature inside the ring."

While Sonny Bill Williams won't ask the South African for his signature in the ring, don't be surprised if he's looking for a place to hide once the bell chimes.

SBW vs Botha, scheduled for twelve rounds, will take place in Australia on Friday and will be shown live on SuperSport 5 in South Africa from 13:00 local time.

Botha vs Williams Preview

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