Sonny Bill rolls with the punches

Grim tidings for all those SBW haters hoping to see the multi-faceted sportsman knocked out in the boxing ring. It ain't gonna happen. No time soon, anyway.Turns out Sonny Bill can actually box. Really box. We're not talking Ali in his prime here, or even Larry Holmes in the doughnut-munching years, but Williams has clearly mastered many of the sport's basics in the 18 months in which he has been dabbling with it. Compared to the heavy, badly uncultured brawler that was Scott Lewis, Williams was an artiste. It's far too early to say how he'd go against an opponent with a modicum of skill and genuine power in his punches, but Williams at least proved he was far from a joke in out-pointing Lewis over six interesting rounds on the Gold Coast.

Faced with a southpaw whose only tactic was to bulldoze forward throwing looping overhand lefts that were so telegraphed his next opponent can already see them coming, Williams displayed nimble footwork, a stiff jab and a decent right upper cut. It was evident he was both well-coached and possessed the capacity to immerse up vital lessons. He circled constantly to his left to stay away from Lewis's only weapon and clinched when he felt like a rest, controlling the tempo of the fight. If he'd thrown a straight right more often as Lewis rushed in, Williams would have closed the forklift driver well inside the distance.

That he didn't KO an opponent whose four previous losses in seven fights all came inside the distance raises questions about the amount of power that resides in Williams' beautifully sculpted 107kg frame. It’s the sort of question that will never be answered. Still a novice at 25, Williams would make an intriguing prospect as a boxer - if he really was going to be a boxer. If he trained for the sport fulltime and chalked up five or six fights a year for five years, then who knows? Certainly the heavyweight division doesn't boast many pure boxers these days.


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