Most of the experts agree that the longer Mark Hunt and Paul Gallen spend in the ring together on December 16, the better chance the former Sharks captain has of scoring an upset win.
The common thinking goes that Hunt’s best chance of winning is by an early knockout, while Gal could have fitness to weather the early storm, drag the bout into the later rounds and claim a win on the scorecards.
But Hunt, who hasn’t fought since December 2018, left an ominous warning for Gallen, warning the retired NRL veteran he’d better be prepared to fight while hurt.
“My thought is I wonder if he can get hurt and continue to fight,” Hunt said this week.
“I know I can. I’ve done it plenty of times.
“In the boxing game the pace is slower, you can slow things right up. If he can handle being hurt and continue, then he’s got a shot.
“But he’s not going to make the six.”
While Hunt undoubtedly possesses one of the heaviest punches in combat sport history, Gallen doesn’t believe he’s the same fighter as he once was.
“People are remembering Mark Hunt and these knockouts that he’s famous for a long, long time ago,” Gallen said on The Big Sports Breakfast on Wednesday.
“At 46 years of age, it’s not the same Mark Hunt people are remembering.
“I’m going to prove that. He’s not going to be able to get to me like he thinks he’s going to get to me and like everyone else thinks he’s going to get to me.
“I’ll show him on December 16.”
Hunt responded, calling Gallen a grub and pointing out the fact that Gal’s had many more straight boxing matches than he has.
“He’s had a lot more boxing fights than I have, so I can’t take that from him,” Hunt said.
“He does say he’s a part time fighter…part time fighter, full-time grub.
“He’s saying all these sorts of things. Gal said some things about me – it is what it is. He talked.
“It’s a bit silly him knocking me for fighting for the money, because that’s what a prize fighter does. I fight for my family because I love my family.”
Hunt spent a frustrating final few years in the UFC, losing to Justin Willis, Aleksei Oleinik and Curtis Blaydes while engaging in a lawsuit against the company.
Now based in Newcastle and working with veteran combat sport trainers Rich and Rob Fogarty, Hunt says he’s happier than he has been in a while.
“The biggest challenge is that I’m happy,” he said.
“I wasn’t happy fighting for that company. I have my reasons, but boxing is a totally different beast. It’s different footwork, different breathing.
“I had to learn a lot.
“Being here with Rob and Richie, such good boxing trainers, I have a really good rapport with them. If I don’t have a good rapport with someone, I won’t put in the work – it won’t be the same.”