Paul Gallen concedes the clock’s ticking on his decorated sporting career but that won’t stop the rugby league great turned professional boxer from tending to one more important piece of business.
Knocking the hell out of UFC legend Mark Hunt in their heavyweight showdown next Wednesday night at Bankwest Stadium.
Gallen is furious with Hunt, claiming in classic boxing fashion that the so-called Super Samoan had fabricated stories to undermine Cronulla’s only NRL premiership-winning captain.
“Don’t believe nothing Mark says,” Gallen said on Thursday.
“He’s talking about me calling him out five years ago. It never happened.
“He’s said things like I’ve called him old, fat and slow. It hasn’t come out of my mouth.
“The only thing that’s come out of my mouth is I said he’s here for the money. I’m here for the money as well.
“But to win this fight means more to me. He’s here to collect his pay cheque and move on.
“That’s what he’s here to do.
“I’m tired of all the crap. I’m ready to get in there and punch the shit out of him.”
That’s what Gallen, unbeaten in his 10 professional bouts, thinks.
Hunt, despite not having won either of his two professional boxing fights and having last boxed 20 years ago, has an entirely different viewpoint.
“He’s not going to make six rounds,” Hunt said.
“He’s a legend of footy and I respect him on that field.
“But on this field, he’s got to earn it. He’s got to earn that respect.
“He’s got to beat me, he’s got to give me his blood.
“There ain’t no running around tip-tap shit.
“This is the fight business, this is the hurt business.
“So if he wants it, he’s got to take it from me.”
That’s exactly Gallen’s plan, the Sharks great outright dismissing Hunt’s standing in the UFC as the walk-off knockout king.
“He’s had his time. He’s a legend of the sport. I understand that, but he’s had his time,” Gallen said.
“Everyone talks about his knockout power; he hasn’t knocked out anyone since 2017.
“The last genuine fighter he knocked out before that was 2014.”
Gallen stands to collect a massive six-figure cheque for stepping back into the ring, admitting he wouldn’t be “fighting for chump change”.
But, turning 40 next year, he’s unsure how many more fights he’ll have.
“I haven’t a lot left in me, to be honest,” he said.
“I’m getting on a bit now.”