botha has to beat guerrero

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Thinus Strydom concurred that defeat on Friday for his charge, Francois "White Buffalo" Botha against Ron "Rocky" Guerrero at Tlokwe Banquet Hall in Potchefstroom will signal the end of Botha's illustrious career.

Strydom sold his World Sports Promotions (WSP) boxing company to King Ramapedi, Thabang Segooa, Mikiro Ramphenyane and Eric Strydom (Thinus' son) last year to redirect Botha's career.

"I told him that if performs poorly I will walk away from him," Strydom said.

Guerrero, 34, has 20 victories (20 KOs) from 38 fights.

Botha, who had a distinguished career as a heavyweight boxer, and the relatively unknown Mexican will fight for the vacant World Boxing Foundation (WBF) belt.

"Victory will put him back in the mix," said Strydom who built his empire 20 years ago, producing household names and world beaters like Dingaan Thobela.

Strydom said it was do or die for Botha whom he said looked set to do what he knew best - knock the hell out of his opponent.

Botha has done that to 28 of his 45 victims. He too was blown away four times by Michael Moorer, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko in his four defeats in 52 fights.

Those are four of the many world beaters Botha from Witbank fought in his illustrious career that began in 1990. Attempts to get his comment drew a blank.

Botha won the IBF belt from Axel Schultz in 1995 but later tested positive for steroids his camp claimed were were prescribed by a doctor for an arm injury. The result of that fight was then changed to a no contest, and Botha was stripped of the title.

He bounced back with a courageous effort against Moorer for the IBF crown in 1996 on the undercard of Tyson's first fight with Evander Holyfield.

Moorer knocked him out in the 12th round. In July 2007, Botha, 41, returned with a unanimous decision over Bob Mirovic for the WBF interim belt.

Strydom, who has always been on Botha's side, paid tribute to Ramapedi, Segooa, Ramphenyane and Eric for staging a heavyweight title fight in their second tournament.

Their first was Strydom's swansong at Graceland Casino in Mpumalanga last September. Their fighter Zack Mwekassa was stopped in the sixth round by Hungarian Jozsef Nagy for the WBF cruiserweight belt.