Paul Gallen has made the eye-watering revelation that he’s made $25 million from boxing after just three years in the sport. The astronomical sum of money dwarfs what the rugby league icon would have made over the course of an NRL career in which he played 350 games for the Cronulla Sharks.
Gallen is set to bring the curtain down on his sporting career when he takes on fellow league great Justin Hodges in Sydney on Wednesday night, in a rematch of his controversial win against the Queenslander in September.
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When the Sharks premiership winner does hang up the gloves for good, it will present a golden opportunity for another cross-code sporting star to take up Gallen’s position on the Australian boxing pay-per-view pyramid.
It had been hoped that Gallen would lock horn with fellow cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams in the ring, but the former NSW State of Origin captain has long since conceded that it won’t happen. Gallen appears so at peace with that reality that not even a $5 million payday would sway him – not that the 41-year-old needs any more money from boxing.
“I’ll never fight Sonny Bill, I’ll say that right now, even if they guaranteed $5 million in my bank account before the fight, because he’d make $5 million too,” Gallen said.
“He had his chance. We should have fought twice over the last couple of years. The ego and arrogance from their side is at a level that I don’t want to be involved in.
“(Boxing promoter) No Limit don’t want to be involved with them, No Limit’s the biggest and best promoter in Australia and they don’t want to be involved with them? What does that say?
“That fight will never happen, I’m not going to talk crap about Sonny. I was asked if Sonny should fight again, yes, Sonny is 37, he’s got plenty left in him.
“Look what I’ve done in the last three years, grossed $25 million. He could do the same, make millions. But I will not fight Sonny Bill, ever.”
Gallen says despite not being able to make one of the most highly anticipated fights in Australian history come to fruition, he can’t think of a better way to bow out of professional sport than by bashing a Queenslander into submission.
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Gallen will be thrown down against his former State of Origin nemesis Hodges in a spicy rematch, after the Maroons legend claims he was robbed in September’s first fight where he dropped the NSW great.
An unfazed Gallen is intent on silencing Hodges once and for all, having pointed out that last time the two squared off, he also took on – and beat – Hodges’ ex-Maroons teammate Ben Hannant on the same fight card.
“I want to hurt him. He and his (Maroons) mates broke my heart a lot of times, particularly over that eight-year period (of Queensland dominance). That’s definitely added motivation,” Gallen said at Tuesday’s weigh-in.
“But I get to take him out tomorrow night on his own. That will be the best thing. He’s got no friends around him. He’s got no one to help him. He hasn’t got any 110kg front-rower going before him and pulling me out and slowing me down and fighting me first.
“He’s only got me and that’s a huge advantage for me. If I do what I can do and fight the fight I want to fight, he’s no chance of beating me.”
Hodges accepts he probably cannot go the full six two-and-a-half-minute rounds with Gallen, and admits he has “got to stop him” if he’s to stand any chance of walking away victorious.
“Six rounds, I haven’t gone that deep ever. So for me to win, I’ve got to put him away as early as possible. I’ve got nothing to lose. Everyone’s expecting him to win, he’s expecting to win and I know all I’ve got to do is land one big punch and that changes the whole outcome of the fight,” Hodges said.
Win or lose, 41-year-old Gallen – who readily admits he is well past his physical best – will not be making any comebacks. That being said, the Cronulla legend could not be more content as he approaches his sporting swansong di lui.
“I started this sport to make some money in the pre-seasons. It’s escalated from there. I’ve done very well financially,” Gallen said.
“So I don’t need money. I’m actually taking less money for this fight than my contract says, so I’ve done the right thing by (promoter) No Limit (Boxing) there.
“So what’s going to motivate me to come out of retirement? I don’t know. There’s no one in particular that I want to fight, and there’s no big enough fight out there to make me come out of retirement.”
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