3 Jun 2011

Fight does nothing for boxing's image, says association

7:17 pm on 3 June 2011

The chair of the Boxing Association says a fight between the All Black Sonny Bill Williams and the relatively unknown boxer Alipate Liava'a is a one-sided bout that does nothing for the image of the sport.

Williams, who is 25 and an All Black, will box the 43-year-old sickness beneficiary in Auckland on Sunday to raise money for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

Liava'a had been claiming a benefit for an injury but it was suspended by the Ministry of Social Development after it heard about the fight and he did not return its calls.

The ministry says his eligibility for the benefit was based on a medical assessment and this will be reviewed with a doctor next week.

The fight is a professional bout outside of the control of the Boxing Association, whose chair John McKay says the bout is more about entertainment than sport.

Liava'a won his first four fights but has lost his past seven.

Dr McKay says the promoters could have found a more worthy opponent to go up against Williams.

Boxing aficionado Sir Robert Jones agrees, saying the bout is a farce and wishes they would take up another sport - like croquet.

Sir Robert says rugby players who think they can box make a mockery of the sport.

"To see this promoted as the way you expect of a major world title fight is just degrading for boxing. Who is it this time - a sickness beneficiary who has lost his last seven bouts."

But Sonny Bill Williams says the fight is not a forgone conclusion, as he has no amateur boxing record and has only had three real bouts - not like his opponent.