Paul Gallen called a ‘f***ing flog’ as Aussie fight community reacts with anger

Let’s be clear, Paul Gallen didn’t invent the formula that has been used by boxers for years and frustrated fans just as long.

The former NRL star hadn’t even considered lacing up the gloves when the likes of Floyd Mayweather and plenty of big names before him found a way to make the most out of money from the fight game while taking the least amount of risk.

Prize fighting 101 is a two-step process. First, pick opponents with marketable names – or at least a story you can spin to the public. Second, make sure you can beat them.

That’s the path Gallen is taking as he looks to maximise his second sporting career from a financial point of view.

At age 39, the former NSW Origin captain has very little motivation to start lining up the very best heavyweight boxers in Australia for his next fights.

He’s not a young man looking to test his talent against the best in the country, but a retired footballer looking to add income to what he gains through his commentary and coaching gigs.

But by adopting the type of risk averse strategy that turned many boxing supporters into UFC fans, Gallen has angered sections of the Aussie fight community.

Former UFC fighter Damien Brown was the most forthright in his criticism of Gallen’s decision to call out Rob Whittaker after outworking Mark Hunt and battling to a draw with former AFL player Barry Hall.

“Paul Gallen is a f***ing flog,” Brown tweeted. “He’s 100+ kg calling out guys who fight at 84kg. That’s what’s wrong. Call out Lucas Browne or someone and test yourself. Maybe (Justis) Huni.”

Paul Gallen took Mark Hunt’s best punches. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Both of those fighters, former world title challenger Browne and 21-year-old sensation Huni, have called out Gallen since his decision win against Hunt on Wednesday night.

“Paul Gallen – stop calling out UFC fighters who are under contract and you know they can’t fight,” Browne said.

“He (Whittaker) is also nowhere near in your weight class so it would just be stupid. Why not fight a proper fighter?”

Huni took a similar approach. “He’s fighting MMA fighters and part-time boxers as well,” he said of Gallen. “If he wants a real boxing match-up, I’d be happy to take it.”

The problem for both Browne and Huni is they don’t tick both boxes in what Gallen is looking for at this point of life.

Neither of them comes close to the marketability of Whittaker and both would have a better chance of knocking him out than the smaller, less experienced former UFC middleweight champion.

Gallen’s doubters are already playing into his hands too by mixing their criticism of his decision to call out Whittaker with comments about how the 29-year-old dominate him. Brown was top of the list, following his “flog” tweet with another which said “Rob jabs Gallen into 2022”.

That doubt in Gallen’s ability – which we should be starting to ease up on after the work rate and capacity to take a heavy punch he has shown in his short fighting career – is all he needs to sell thousands more pay-per-views.

The taunts aren’t going to change the ex-Cronulla forward’s mind anyway.

Robert Whittaker weighs in 20kg lighter than Gallen. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“I can already see the haters on social media,” Gallen said after beating Hunt. “They’ll say ‘oh, you only beat a 46-year-old’.

“Yet in the lead up they were saying that Mark Hunt was going to kill me. Telling me ‘Rest In Peace’ and stuff like that.

“I learned a long time ago that I can never win. So I’ll just keep doing what I do for myself and my family. I also have a group of great people around me. So I don’t have to worry about everyone else.”

Especially if Australian fight fans keep coughing up their dough to watch him win.

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