Justin Hodges has spectacularly declared he is going to hit fellow former NRL player Paul Gallen with “cheap shots” when they meet for a rematch at Sydney’s International Convention Center on Wednesday.
It was Gallen who scored a highly controversial victory over Hodges in September when the referee stopped the fight in the third round in Brisbane.
While the finish itself was laughable, the entire bout was dogged by controversy.
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Hodges whacked Gallen illegally after the referee had pulled them apart momentarily, and then the New South Welshmen hit Hodges when the latter was bent backwards over the rope in a vulnerable position.
Hodges later threatened to challenge the result of the fight given the nature of the punch that essentially ended it.
The former State of Origin foes met again in Sydney on Monday at a press conference ahead of the rematch.
“I’m going to give him back what he gave me in Brisbane – a couple of cheap shots,” Hodges told the gathered media, with only No Limit Boxing boss George Rose separating he and Gallen.
“I’ve been working pretty hard at some cheap shots, hopefully the ref stays out of it.
“I have to (do cheap shots), he does. I heard he’s been doing it, so why not. I’ve been learning off some good opponents back home, so why not, if the ref doesn’t break it up.
“I’ve got a lot of power, hopefully I catch him once and he drops. We saw him drop in Brisbane quite easily, so this time I’m going to hit him harder.”
Hodges was the first opponent to ever drop Gallen, although he still lost the bout.
Gallen wasn’t copping any accusations from the one-time Queensland centre.
“You keep going on about cheap shots… remember your cheap shot? Where the referee called ‘break’ and you cracked me with a right hand – but it’s OK because you apologised,” he said.
“So it’s OK because you apologised?”
Hodges replied, “this time I won’t be apologizing”.
Gallen then took a swipe at Hodges’ rugby league career, which reaped 13 Tests for Australia, 24 Origins for Queensland, and 251 NRL games.
Gallen insinuated Hodges was a cheap-shot merchant on the football field.
“That last fight epitomizes your (football) career,” Gallen said.
“Last one in – whenever there was any issue (on a footy field) you were the last one in – last man in once all the damage is done. You’re like the big dog walking in at the end.”
Gallen is also fuming over the length of the fight, which will be co-main event alongside Michael Zerafa taking on Danilo Creati.
The pair had agreed to three-minute rounds, but will instead fight six two-and-a-half-minute rounds.
“Two and a half minutes, first time ever. You’re not a man of your word,” Gallen fired at his opponent.
“I’ve had that many people text me saying, ‘he’s not a real Queenslander, all Queenslanders have is their word’, and he’s gone back on his word.
“He stood in the ring that night and said he would fight six three (minute rounds), he’s gone back it, wanted to fight six twos. Apparently there was a health concern if he fought three-minute rounds, that’s how much of an embarrassment it is.”
Hodges fired back.
“What about you? You’ve come out and said you’ve got headaches, now you want to get punched in the head more – what an idiot,” he said.
Gallen denied ever saying he had suffered headaches.
The wild back-and-forth descended into Hodges turning his back on Gallen and saying only “you’re an idiot” and “shut up” as the latter continued speaking.
‘ONE MORE TIME’ FIGHT NIGHT
Wednesday, Sydney’s ICC from 6pm
Michael Zerafa vs Danilo Creati — middleweight
Paul Gallen vs Justin Hodges — heavyweight
Paulo Aokuso vs David Zegarra — light heavyweight
Ty Telford vs Joel Taylor — welterweight
Liam Talivaa vs Louis Marsters — heavyweight
Daniel Suluka-Fifita vs Bryce Jones — heavyweight
Shanell Dargan vs Chandni Mehra — featherweight
Tommy Browne vs. Jorge Kapeen — super welterweight
Micky Pengue vs Ben Hussain — super welterweight
George Peterson vs Gary Phillips — heavyweight
Tywarna Campbell vs Deanha Hobbs — super featherweight
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