Sonny Bill Williams attends the IBF Middleweight Title bout
between Anthony Mundine and Daniel Geale. (Photo by Matt
Unlike great mate Anthony Mundine, Sonny Bill Williams
reckons he has learned the hard way that if you don't have
anything nice to say, don't say it at all.
But that hasn't stopped former IBF champion, hardened South
African veteran Francois Botha, wanting to dish out another
lesson to the ex-All Black in their WBA international
heavyweight title bout in Brisbane on Friday night.
Mundine's arrival in the Williams camp on Wednesday should
ensure plenty of colour ahead of the Sydney Roosters
recruit's biggest fight to date.
However, Williams, 27, vowed to do all his talking in the
ring after the fallout over his support of Mundine on Twitter
following the IBF middleweight title loss to compatriot
Daniel Geale in Sydney last week.
Williams contemplated being hit with legal action before
apologising for his tweet of a photo of himself, Wallabies
five-eighth Quade Cooper and Mundine after the Geale fight,
with the caption: "Hanging out with @Anthony-Mundine
celebrating a victory. We don't pay attention to corrupt
Unlike Mundine who insisted he was "robbed" after the Geale
fight, Williams (5-0 boxing record) was sheepish when
reminded of his chip ahead of his daunting clash with
44-year-old Botha (48-8-3).
"At the time we were full of emotion. Sometimes you do silly
things like that," he said.
"I meant no disrespect to the Geale camp. He is a great
fighter and champion.
"The next morning I apologised. When you have nothing nice to
say you should keep it to yourself."
Cooper - who makes his professional boxing debut against
former Muay Thai title contender Barry Dunnett on the
Williams undercard - was not so apologetic.
"I have no more comment to make on that. It is done and
dusted. I am going to support him (Mundine) 100 per cent no
matter what," he said as he trained on Tuesday.
"He has always been a great friend of mine. I will be there
for him as well."
But Botha - dubbed "The White Buffalo" - was keen to ruffle
feathers, claiming the "green" Williams had no right to be in
the same ring with him.
"He's got some balls to pick this fight, and I am not talking
rugby balls," Botha said.
"No one else at his stage of his career would pick a fight
Williams curiously revealed that the extent of his boxing
training was once watching fights on YouTube but felt he was
ready to down Botha under the expert tutelage of renowned
task master Mick Akkaway.
But it seems Williams has to work on his own YouTube
highlights judging by Botha's assessment.
"You really want to know? Um, he's very green," Botha said of
"On stats alone he shouldn't be in the ring with me. But I
won't underestimate him."
Williams reiterated that he would hang up the gloves if
knocked out on Friday night.
"If I can't beat guys like this then there is no future for
me in the sport," he said.