Justin Hodges boldly declared he is “not there to make up the numbers” as he gears up to be one of Paul Gallen’s two opponents in a Queensland boxing extravaganza.
Gallen will fight Hodges and Ben Hannant on the same night at the Nissan Arena in Brisbane on September 15, as the Cronulla legend looks to accomplish a feat not seen in over 130 years after Albert ‘Young Griffo’ Griffiths beat two opponents in one evening in 1890.
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Securing the fight against Gallen, arguably the best crossover footy star to lace up the gloves, is something that Hodges has longed for ever since he took up the sport.
And the former Maroons star plans on grasping the opportunity with both hands as he looks to make his home state proud.
“I’m not there to make up the numbers, I’m not there to lose,” Hodges said foxsports.com.au.
“I want to give everything I possibly can and I want to win the fight.
“He’s (Gallen) been the best crossover guy so for me to take him out, it will be something that I can look back on later in life and say that I beat one of the best guys in boxing in terms of crossover.”
Likely to be the second of the two fights, Hodges knows that many critics will point out that any victory over Gallen could be put down to the NSW great being tired having already fought that evening.
There’s every chance that Hannant also causes a massive upset and beats Gallen in the first bout.
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However, the 40-year-old is already prepared for all of the “garbage” excuses that could be trotted out.
“Look, that’s not my problem,” Hodges said.
“I can’t control that. I can’t control what Gal wants. All I can control is my fight.
“Obviously there’s always going to be that speculation when I do win that he had a fight before and was tired and all that type of garbage.
“But at the end of the day, that’s his choice, not mine. I just have to go in, do my job and whatever people say, they’ll say.”
No matter what physical condition Gallen arrives in by the time they’re set to square off — provided he wins his first fight — Hodges is already running through how the fight will end in his head.
Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t think the judges will be needed.
“Look, we’re both big guys,” Hodges said.
“We’re both going out there to swing. I don’t see it going to the judges at all.
“One of us is going to get stopped, that’s the way I’m visualizing it in my head.”
As for Gallen, he is relishing the chance to silence what promises to be an extremely vocal crowd and had a scary warning for Hodges and Hannant.
“I said in the lead up to their last fight that there’d be nothing more enjoyable than getting to bash two Queenslanders in one night and here we are,” Gallen said.
“These two couldn’t get my name out of their mouths in the lead up to their last fight. Be careful what you wish for guys, because I’m coming to swing and swing hard and I won’t stop until you are both on the floor regretting the decision.
“I’m actually pumped that the fight is in Brisbane and I couldn’t care less about the crowd. They can boo me all they want but that will only give me more energy to go out and put on a show.”