By Lee Stace
THE STOUSH that Sonny Bill Williams and Clarence Tillman had at their weigh-in prior to their fight offered more excitement than the actual thing.
For those of you who missed the highly-anticipated duel – all two minutes and 54 seconds of it – the All Blacks midfielder beat his chunky Yankee counterpart following a first-round technical knockout.
Those in the crowd who paid up to $100 to watch the two men slug it out over 10 rounds would have surely felt ripped off. Those who subscribed to the fight on SKY would have felt the same, as the pay-per-view bill of $39.95 meant the bout cost them $13.77 a minute – or 22 cents a second.
The only people who came away with anything from this were the two competitors and fight organisers.
Indeed, it was yet another farcical bout in the farcical boxing career of Williams. Some labelled it the ‘Con in the Tron’ prior to the two touching gloves and they were proven right.
Tillman – who had placed a $1000 bet on himself at the TAB to knock Williams out in the first round – was rubbish. His modest record aside, he was meant to test the mettle of Williams as a boxer.
In the end, however, he did nothing of the sort. Tagging Williams at the pre-fight weigh-in is all Tillman will be remembered for.
But the winner was not perfect either, despite his fans saying he once again proved the doubters wrong. His technique is still flawed and he clearly lacks the out-and-out power to finish off opponents (he did not knock Tillman to the canvas – the ref stopped the fight).
So Williams, who is now undefeated in five professional outings, has earned the right to parade around and market himself as the New Zealand heavyweight champion (it is worth mentioning that had Tillman won, he would have been ineligible to wear the belt, as he is not a New Zealand citizen).
But until he ups his game and starts fighting better opponents when he steps between the ropes, Williams’ title with be nothing more than a leather strap with a couple of pieces of tin on it.
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.