Talks going on for two aged boxers, Williams, Butler, to meet for crown

One is a wise old professional. He is one of the great sports ambassadors in Bahamian history, and his resume includes several regional titles. He is 47, has been a pro fighter since 1997 and sports a creditable record of 40 victories, 15 defeats, two draws and one no-contest. He is presently listed as the Bahamian Heavyweight Champion, a status he never defended.

The other is less acclaimed. He was 39 on December 15, and, has a not-too-glowing ring record of nine wins, 14 defeats and one draw. In recent years though, he has been the second most notable heavyweight boxer in the country.

The former is Sherman “Tank” Williams and the latter is Jerry “Big Daddy” Butler. Local boxing entrepreneur Ron Rodgers has communicated with the Bahamas Boxing Commission, seeking permission to stage a battle between Williams and Butler for The Bahamas’ Heavyweight Championship. He has gotten permission to work out the details to promote the fight.

Both boxers are beyond their prime years, but such a fight would be a must-see event. For as long as the match lasts, it figures that onlookers would witness a thrilling encounter. Williams is a crafty veteran who has fought some top-quality fighters during his career. He came as close as a referee’s discretion back in January of 2011 of being a world champion.

Williams was in the ring opposite the legendary Evander Holyfield, who at the time, held the last of his world titles, that of the World Boxing Federation (WBF). Williams had outfought Holyfield easily over the first two rounds. Prior to the beginning of round three, Holyfield’s handlers told the referee they wanted to “discontinue”.

Bouts have to last at least four rounds to be declared official. The referee decided on a “no-contest” rather than order Holyfield to come out for the third round. That being the case, Williams lost his best opportunity to capture a world title. Still a capable boxer, he has found it difficult getting fights. Most camps with up-and-coming boxers, prefer to avoid the cagey veterans.

Butler, on the other hand, does not have a glamorous resume, but he has always been noted for his zeal. He fights from the first bell to the end of the match, whether it is shortened or goes the distance. Rodgers informed the commission that he has been in contact with Williams and talks are ongoing. The commission has indicated that it would readily endorse the bout, with its heavyweight title at stake.

It is expected that arrangements will be made to stage the contest within the first quarter of the new year. Williams and Butler, in their own rights, are compelling fighters and such a clash would be a shot in the arm for professional boxing in The Bahamas. The fight would indeed be a big draw. Ardent boxing fans and others would be eager to see what unfolds.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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