Willie Mason’s punch on Stuart Fielden in the 2006 Tri-Nations remains one of the most talked about moments of modern rugby league history.
Just minutes into the game in Sydney, Kangaroo prop Mason put what many thought was a cheap shot on Great Britain enforcer Fielden, knocking him out unconscious before a melee ensued.
At the time Fielden was GB’s main man and the most expensive player in the game, with Mason taking the opportunity to land one on his opposing front-rower after the players wrestled following a tackle.
Now 43, Fielden admits to not remembering the rest of the game as he played 40 minutes in the Lions’ memorable 23-12 victory – a triumph that ended the long wait for a win in Australia.
Both players have since retired from playing rugby league, with Fielden claiming that the pair have not spoken since the incident despite Mason later having stints in Super League with Hull KR and Catalans Dragons.
However, speaking to Serious About Rugby League, former Bradford and Wigan great Fielden has revealed that he did offer Mason the opportunity to settle their feud in the boxing ring a few years ago.
“We were in touch with Willie’s agent,” said Fielden. “We offered him £20,000 to come over and have a boxing fight around 2016, and he refused it.
“All he had to do was turn up for it. It would have been amateur rules, which is three two-minute rounds. So yeah, we offered him that.
“We had a venue, financial backing and everything. We offered him it all on a plate to come over and he wasn’t interested.”
If Mason had accepted the bout, he would have likely been the fitter of the pair at the time having just retired from playing rugby league in 2016 after a spell at Catalans – some three years after Fielden had called it a day in 2013.
Fielden believes the fight would have created a great spectacle and admitted he was surprised that Mason turned down the opportunity.
“He’s done a few fights in Australia, I don’t think he’s a slump in that area but it would have been a great event,” Fielden added.
“But no, he just wasn’t interested. I was quite disappointed really because he had just finished playing and he just needed to get on a plane and come over here.
“I’m not sure why he didn’t take me up on it. Maybe he had better things to do over there but I didn’t think it was a bad offer or a bad amount of money for a night’s work.”