‘Nothing left to prove’: Paul Gallen urged to reject rematch offer

After going the distance in their heavyweight fight on Wednesday night, Paul Gallen has been urged not to take up Justis Huni’s offer of a rematch for the sake of his own health.

Huni defeated the former NRL star in a 10th-round TKO to retain his Australian heavyweight title, but talk quickly turned to whether the pair would go head-to-head in the ring again.

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Gallen pocketed a mammoth $1.5 million from the fight, while his deal also included an option for a rematch against Huni.

“I’m not against it,” Gallen said of doing it all again.

“I think I had a really good preparation leading into the Mark Hunt and Lucas Browne (fights). This was a short one.

“I was really, really fit, as fit as I’ve ever been going into this fight. But trying to get sparring to prepare for guys like that, it’s pretty hard.

“That was a good challenge … that’s where I want to be as an athlete, pushing myself as far as I can against the champion.

“I did that tonight, and we’ll weigh it up in the future what’s going to happen.”

Paul Gallen was battered and bruised after Justis Huni broke his rib in the second round of their fight. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia

“I don’t know if I’m going to do it again,” Gallen said later, speaking to media.

The 39-year-old said he was significantly weakened after Huni broke his rib in the second round of the fight.

“Had I not broken my rib, I’m not saying I could have won the fight, but who knows?” he said.

“It’s a stupid thing to say but he hurt me in round two, he hurt me bad.

“He did exactly what he had to do, went to the body early, finished me late. That’s what you do in boxing.”

When asked after the fight if he’d be interested in a rematch with Gallen, Huni responded: “100 per cent”.

“I’m here to take whatever fight’s put in front me. I’ll put my title on the line anytime I can.”

But Australian boxing legend Barry Michael has urged Gallen not to take up Huni’s offer.

“I hope he doesn’t take it,” Michael said in commentary on Main Event.

“Paul Gallen went beyond the call of duty. He doesn’t have to prove anything.

“He’s a deadset pitbull. He’s just so strong and so tough.

“Personally I don’t want to see Gal come back and take rematches and stuff like that.

“He’s made a good quid. He’s proved so many things to himself and a lot of other people and it’s a great achievement to go into the last minute of the 10th round. It’s incredible.”

Paul Gallen was gutsy in his heavyweight title fight with Justis Huni on Wednesday night. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia

Boxing commentator Paul Kent went even further, saying he’d like to see the former Cronulla Sharks star hang up the boxing gloves.

“I wouldn’t like to see him fight any more. I don’t think he can go any higher than where he was tonight,” he said.

“He certainly doesn’t want any opponents better than Justis.

“I think tonight he got his payday. I would like to see for his own welfare, for him to say: ‘You know what? I’m 39-years-old and I’m going to go have my shoulder surgery and I’m going to go into retirement and I’m going to enjoy spending that money’.

Promoter of the fight Dean Lonergan said he is very confident Gallen will take up the offer of a rematch.

“Gal will back up again,” he said after the fight.

“He loves the money, he’s a prize fighter.

“He was thoroughly outclassed today and he’s tough as all heck and if we do this again the betting’s going to be worse. But it’s up to him and if he wants to do it we’ll take it for the simple fact that we can’t get this publicity anywhere else.”

Lonergan said Gallen’s ability to promote boxing fights was invaluable and crucial to Huni’s career.

“To turn Justis into a pay-per-view star — that’s the business we’re in — we need to have media and Gallen brings more media to the table than anyone with the exception of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury,” he said.

“Paul Gallen is an amazing, amazing promoter of fights. He knows how to sell this stuff and he’s the best I’ve ever worked with.

“I hope he fronts up again.”

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