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Sonny Bill Williams has been labelled as "stupid" by Francois Botha, his opponent for Friday's WBA International heavyweight title fight in Brisbane.
On his arrival in Australia, the 44-year-old showed little respect for Williams, claiming a fairer contest would be between the former All Black and Botha's son, a 70kg amateur.
"He's got a lot of big balls, and I don't mean rugby balls," Botha told the Courier-Mail newspaper.
"Why is he taking this chance? He should stick to rugby because I will hit him so hard that when he tries to catch the ball, he'll just miss it.
"When I catch him he's going to go. I'll drag him to deep water and let him drown. He's never fought a guy like me, it's stupid."
Williams takes a perfect 5-0 record into the fight but the South African is a clear step up from the Roosters' recruit's previous bouts, three of which resulted in knock-out wins.
Botha has won 44 of his 60 career fights, 29 by knock-out, over a 23-year career which includes defeats to boxing greats Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield.
He is in the twilight years of his career and goes into Friday's bout having lost his last three fights. But he proved in those bouts that he can still go the distance, lasting up to the 10th round in each - a distance Williams has yet to reach during his five fights.
"In real life, he should never have an opportunity to fight a guy like me with just five fights to his name," he said.
"I'm only taking this fight because of his notoriety in rugby."
Last week Williams had praise for his opponent as he eyes an opportunity to defeat a recognised name in the sport.
"His experience speaks for itself," he said.
"For me in a boxing sense I need to take fights like this to move up.
"It's definitely going to put my name out there internationally if I win because it's for a WBA international belt."