Paul Gallen upped the ante by laying down a $50,000 bet on his double fight against Queensland greats Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant.
The trio will step into the ring at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on September 15, with former New South Wales captain Gallen fighting Hannant and then Hodges in a radical tag-team style boxing bout.
The details are yet to be finalised but Gallen told Wide World of Sports last week he expects to fight six or eight rounds, with Hannant and Hodges committing to half that.
The trio fronted up to a press conference in Brisbane on Wednesday where plenty of verbal barbs were thrown – mainly centred around rugby league’s State of Origin.
Hodges and Hannant boast a winning record against Gallen, who presided over one of the leanest periods in Blues history.
Hannant evoked a furious response from Gallen when he labelled the retired NSW hardman “like a Queenslander”, to which the latter responded, “please don’t disrespect me like that”.
While the three will be paid well by No Limit Boxing and the Main Event sales from the event, Gallen urged the Maroons pair to put their own money on the line and make a wager with him.
“Put your money where your mouth is, put your balls on the line,” Gallen said.
He offered to take $10,000 off Hodges if he managed to knock the retired centre out, but laid down $50,000 of his own coin if Hodges can put Gallen on the canvas.
“I beat you in every series at Origin,” Hodges said in response to Gallen.
“I’ll knock you out easy. I’m going to knock him out. That’s what I’m training for.
“I’ve been working my guts off the last couple of fights preparing myself to what I need to go to.
“I know at some stage he likes to walk forward and that’s going to suit me to a tee, I’m going to catch him (with a punch).”
Gallen has more than twice the professional boxing experience of Hodges and Hannant combined.
The Blues great has fought 15 times for 12 wins, two losses and a draw. Hodges has six professional fights to his name and has lost only once, while Hannant lost his one and only fight to Hodges in June.
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