It will remain one of the great unanswered questions in Australian sport: Who would've won had Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen stepped into the ring? Gallen brought down the curtain on a stellar boxing career after defeating old Origin nemesis Justin Hodges on points in a spirited and willing bout in Sydney on Wednesday night.
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At 41, the former Sharks and NSW skipper acknowledged he'd lost the speed, power and agility needed to continue and is bowing out before being knocked out. He leaves the sport with $25m in prize-money and an impressive 15-2-1 professional record, but without the one scalp he unsuccessfully chased and craved for years – SBW.
Gallen said Williams was waiting for him to get older and slower before coming to the negotiating table and had now missed his opportunity. The SBW camp always felt their man deserved a bigger slice of the financial pie and blamed Gallen for failing to come to terms.
So, who would have come out on top had both men touched gloves when they were in their boxing prime? We put it to four-time world champion Jeff Fenech.
Debate rages on about hypothetical Gallen, Williams match-up
Asked if he thought Gallen would have prevailed, Fenech told Yahoo Sport Australia: "Definitely. I honestly do think Paul would have won it. Choc (Anthony Mundine) is the number one (for footballers turned boxers) but Gal is right up there.
"He possessed so much power and was a machine in the ring. As much as I admire Sonny Bill for everything he's done, you have to ask why didn’t they fight? I know Paul wanted to get a deal done. There is nothing more for him to prove. It's amazing what he's done."
Gallen believes Williams was "scared to fight me" and is saddened rather than bitter they never got in on.
"I'm disappointed we didn’t do it. We should have fought twice, four or five years ago," Gallen said after his win over Hodges. "It's done now. It will be a pub debate forever."
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