Paul Gallen says he’s at a loss trying to comprehend the newfound confidence in Justin Hodges’ boxing ability ahead of their rematch.
In an interview with Fox Sports, boxing legend Jeff Fenech said he’s tipping Hodges to pull off an upset because the former NSW Origin captain’s chin isn’t what it used to be, adding that hard sparring in the past is starting to catch up with him.
Speaking to Wide World of Sports, Gallen said he’s got no problem with Fenech having an opinion, but countered that his first fight with Hodges was heavily skewed in the Queensland great’s favour, yet he still couldn’t get the job done.
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Gallen fought Hodges for four rounds after taking on former NRL prop Ben Hannant for the same amount of time, beating both.
A fresh Hodges scored a knockdown but Gallen said it was clear Hodges and Hannant were in cahoots.
“I don’t understand where all this confidence for Justin Hodges comes from,” Gallen said in an interview with Wide World of Sports. “He fought me the second fight on the night.
“To me it was clear that Ben Hannant’s coach’s had something in common with Hodges because during the Ben Hannant fight, he didn’t try to win that fight.
“All he did was try and tire me out and I could hear him throughout the whole fight ‘Grab him, walk him back to the ropes’, all they wanted me to do was for me to carry his 110kg frame around for the entire fight so they could tire me out for Hodges and that’s exactly what happened.
“Then Hodgo jumps in, punches me on a break call and it rocked me, I’ll admit it. It rocked me.
“How can anyone show confidence in him? Then after two rounds his trainer pulls tape off his arm, he was on his feet, he was f—ed. Where does this confidence come from?”
As for his preparation for this fight, Gallen said his sparring regiment has not been overbearing.
Leading into the last bout against Hodges, the Sharks premiership winning skipper said his preparation wasn’t what it should have been.
This bout will be two and a half minute rounds, a move Gallen says was designed to give Hodges the best possible chance.
“The previous fight I didn’t spar much at all. I didn’t do a lot. I took it for granted to be honest and didn’t prepare for it like I normally prepare,” Gallen said.
“I did train hard don’t get me wrong but as far as sparring goes I didn’t do much at all. For this fight I have sparred more but not as much as I did for previous fights like the Huni fight.
“I got a feeling they want to see me get beat. They need the next Paul Gallen. That’s why I think they’re allowing two-and-a-half minute rounds, what a freakin’ joke. They’re allowing it, it’s a bit annoying.
“But it’s business and I understand they’ve got to do what’s best for them for the next five to 10 years, I’m done next week. I’m not angry at them for that, I’ve got to use that as motivation and not allow myself to get beaten to a guy who 12 months ago I would have killed.”
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