Paul Gallen has launched an extraordinary attack on Justin Hodges' fight team ahead of the former NRL star's upcoming farewell to the boxing ring.
The Cronulla Sharks great teed off on Hodges' trainer, Adam Copland, following repeated attempts to have round duration shortened from three minutes to two.
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Copland has also suggested nobody buying tickets to Gallen and Hodges' November 23 clash was coming to see a boxing match - rather to see them 'knock each other’s heads off'.
Gallen said he was disgusted by the idea of ending his boxing career in what was essentially being touted as a free-for-all slugfest, suggesting Copland wasn't much of a trainer if he wasn't capable of helping Hodges improve his craft.
With his final venture into the ring just weeks away, Gallen reminded Hodges of the handshake agreement they'd made following their last bout, challenging him to rise to the occasion of three-minute rounds as agreed, rather than two-minute rounds which would lead to a no-holds barred fistfight.
Gallen declared Copland's calls for two-minute rounds were a '***ing joke'.
"What he said, it was really, really wrong. The guy is supposed to be a boxing coach yet he’s saying he can’t get his fighter to go three minutes?" Gallen said.
“If that’s the case you aren’t doing your job. Justin has had seven professional fights. Has fought three-minute rounds previously. So to say it shouldn’t happen now? It seems (Copland) is just there for a payday and five seconds of fame.”
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Gallen admitted it was true that Aussie boxing fans wanted to see either he or Hodges get knocked out, but he said it was downright irresponsible for Copland to be encouraging that, considering he would know more than most about the consequences of a knockout blow.
“If I was Justin Hodges I would sack him over that. I think it’s disgraceful. It seems he’s more concerned about what he is getting paid (than his fighter)," Gallen said.
Paul Gallen warned ahead of farewell bout against Justin Hodges
The Hodges stoush brings to an end Gallen's four-fight deal with promoter No Limit Boxing and he insists there will be no return.
Hall of Fame boxer and triple world champion Jeff Fenech knows a fighter on his last legs when he sees one.
He's seen the damage repeated blows to the head can do and is on a crusade to educate about the dangers of concussion.
He backs Gallen's decision to call it quits after the Hodges fight.
"I think what he's done is amazing but I know what happens with the brain after boxing, after football," Fenech told Yahoo Sport Australia.
"Paul's brought a lot to both codes and shown how tough he is, but you don't want that one punch too many or one fight too many.
"It's good to have people who care about you and tell you when the time's up and it's time for him to stop.
"Gal says it's his last fight and let's hope it is.
"I know he loves his money but you don’t need two million dollars – you need your health.
"There is nothing more for him to prove. It's amazing what he's done."
Gallen beat Hodges in controversial circumstances in September and wants to finish the job with one final victory over his old Origin rival.
But Fenech warned: "It’s a tough fight – Hodgo can punch – and let's just hope Gal gets through unscathed."
Gallen is threatening to pull out of the fight if it’s not held over six, three-minute rounds, with Hodges keen on two-minute rounds.
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