A rematch for the White Buffalo? Why should we care?

2013-02-16 00:00

WHAT a mad few days it’s been for South African sport. Oscar Pistorius is in jail. And the tragic circumstances surrounding the events of Reeva Steenkamp’s death shouldn’t provide a platform for comment from any media, social or otherwise, until we know exactly what happened. That story is above all of us, and judgment should be left to the courts.

But what the Pistorius saga has done, and rightly so, is completely overshadow what is happening elsewhere.

Thank the retiring Pope that nobody seems to care about Francois “The White Buffalo” Botha and Sonny Bill Williams any longer.

Looking back, that whole fiasco drew far more media attention than it deserved.

What makes matters worse is that I watched the entire fight, and enjoyed it! More than that, I think I remember myself saying: “That’s the most fun I’ve had in front of a television in ages.”

Shame on me, because the events that have followed the 12-round WBA bout that became a 10-round farce have made us all realise that while Botha vs Williams may have been many things, sport was not one of them.

Controversy, doping, bribes ... the aftermath had it all. And with each new allegation and excuse came the glaring obviousness that whatever happened in Brisbane was far from well organised.

Perhaps the biggest villains in the piece were those Aussie commentators who took us through the fight, taking any and every opportunity to stroke SBW’s ego as hard as they could.

They seemed amazed that SBW, an athlete in his prime, was able to exchange blows against a renowned heavyweight fighter with such aplomb.

Really? The difference in physique, never mind age, was there for all to see. If anyone deserved any praise from the commentators, it was Botha for going the distance against a guy with the exuberance of youth on his side.

By the 10th round, SBW was on his last legs, and as Francois told Darren Scott’s Ballz Radio this week, “The Buffalo was just getting ready to stampede, you know? And then they stopped me and I couldn’t stampede anymore.”

I’m no boxing expert, but it appears that Williams isn’t either. While Botha deserves to be congratulated on his performance, the events of this week have taken any credibility away from what should have been remembered as an entertaining sporting contest.

Anybody who took the time to watch that fight should feel cheated, because we’ve all seen better-organised sporting events at school level.

The Buffalo wants a rematch, and reckons it could happen next year. But after all of this, should we even care?

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