Jaiman Lowe is standing in his dressing room shirtless, drinking from a plastic schooner and grateful, he says, simply to remember one of the best nights of his life.
“Because he’s got f…ing power,” the Townsville port worker says of Siosiua Taukeiaho, that fella now being hyped as the ‘Next Big Thing’ among footy heavyweights.
“He hit my gloves a couple of times and I remember thinking ‘s…, if one of these hits your chin, you aren’t remembering any of this night’.”
With his tattoos, beard and hulking back that would likely take two days to walk across, 39-year-old Lowe proved one of the great winners on the night of Paul Gallen’s boxing farewell.
Despite agreeing to throw down with Taukeiaho on less than seven days notice — and then enjoying a few quiet schooners Saturday — the 135kg father-of-three still went all four rounds with the Tongan World Cup star dubbed TKO.
Better, Lowe also gave some of his own against a prop who, only a week out from the fight, still had nobody wanting to oppose him.
A fighter so imposing, even Lowe’s own daughter suggested Taukeiaho would “kill” her old man.
“So I’ve proved a lot of people wrong,” the 2012 Melbourne premiership winner grins while kicking back in his dressing room; and after having already taken a second beer next door to his rival.
“All the boys at the port were talking s…, saying I wouldn’t last a round.
“But I’ve loved this so much.
“I actually said to George and Matty Rose leaving the ring that this had been a childhood dream for me.
“Although my wife, she calls it a midlife crisis.”
While Lowe proved an undeniable favorite among the Sydney crowd, he admitted Taukeiaho, while raw, has all the attributes of a future crossover star.
And for proof, there was the visible welt under one eye and, what Lowe just knew, was going to be soreness on the ribs — just around his Storm premiership tattoo.
“Because Taukeiaho’s body shots, he was hitting me flush,” Lowe said. “Taking the wind right out of me.
“You can tell he’s been working on that and if he keeps adding to his game, he could be anything.
“With the overhand right, he still telegraphs that a bit.
“So I saw it coming most of the time.
“But to have his professional debut on a big card like this, and after all the talk he was receiving, that’s huge pressure.
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“Obviously, right now, he’s still got a lot of good years left in footy.
“But after reading about what Gal has made in the past three years, a switch to boxing is tempting isn’t it? Even if you could have half the career Gallen has, it’s a lot of coin.”
Speaking across the corridor later, Taukeiaho revealed part of his fight week build-up had actually involved working with Gallen’s trainer Graham Shaw – who most famously took Daniel Geale to world titles.
The two-time Roosters premiership winner, who heads to French club Catalan Dragons after Christmas, also revealed he was happy to challenge Junior Paulo next year.
Speaking prior to Wednesday night’s fights, Paulo told Fox Sports Australia he was the one who had initially been inked in as the farewell opponent for Gallen before World Cup commitments intervened.
The Samoan skipper added, however, that he was now happy to throw down himself with any NRL player past or present.
“I don’t know Junior well, but he’s a good fighter and a humble guy,” Taukeiaho said.
“So if that opportunity comes next year, I’ll take it for sure.
“That would be a good fight.”
Back with Lowe and his beer, we ask the country Queenslander about his contentious knock down in round two, with replays appearing to suggest he may have slipped instead.
“I definitely slipped and fell,” Lowe says. “But whether (Taukeiaho) hit me with his hands too, I couldn’t tell you.
“After getting up, I did just think the referee was coming over to wipe my gloves.
“But then he started counting.
“I said ‘really?’, and he just shrugged at me.
But it is what it is. After the four rounds it was clear he was going to win the fight. It’s not an issue.”
But as for Lowe now being willing to go around again in a fight with more notice?
“I’d say that’s it for me,” the old prop replies. Then after a brief pause, he smiles and adds: “Although as Gal says, money talks”.