Six rounds to decide Code War and $2M jackpot
Six rounds to secure a $2 million pay-day.
That's how much is on the line for Paul Gallen and Barry Hall, with the winner of Friday's Code War to be thrust head-on into a multimillion-dollar fight with Sonny Bill Williams.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Williams' manager Khoder Nasser phoned fight promoter Danny Green on Tuesday to make certain both Gallen and Hall were aware of what was at stake.
Williams only wants to fight the winner of the six-round slug-fest of NRL versus AFL.
The loser may as well retire from boxing.
If Gallen, the raging favourite with bookmakers, beats the former AFL bad boy at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, he will finally secure the fight with Williams which has failed to eventuate despite numerous attempts to bring the pair together.
But if Hall, with his dominant height and reach advantage, can upset Gallen and end his 9-0 winning streak, the one-time Australian amateur champion will be in the box seat to face Williams next year.
"Barry Hall, he's got the motivation of fighting not just for himself but for his future and for his family," Green said.
"If Hall wins this fight, Paul Gallen doesn't go on to fight Sonny Bill Williams, Barry Hall does.
"But if 'Gal' can show his class and beat Barry, he'll get his shot at Sonny. So there's much more than pride at stake."
The time for trash talk is over with both Gallen and Hall finalising their preparation at a typically tense weigh-in in Melbourne.
Hall weighed in at 102kg while Gallen stopped the scales at 101.6kg.
Yet with his obvious height advantage of 14cm over Gallen, Hall bared down on the former NSW State of Origin captain as they faced-off for the final time.
As if immune to making things personal after years of State of Origin warfare, a clearly relaxed Gallen didn't flinch.
The 38-year-old's unfazed mentality has been noticeably different to that of Hall, 42.
The former Swan has attempted to avoid Gallen at all costs. He was an unwilling participant in a photo for media, turning up at the last moment to stand alongside Gallen on Wednesday, while Hall failed to show to a lunch for sponsors.
Gallen attended and spoke freely on stage with Green, who as the promoter of the event was clearly frustrated at Hall's no-show and happily exposed the Victorian's uptight demeanour to the gathering.
Hall's first foray back into boxing for more than 25 years against Gallen, who is chasing 10 consecutive wins, has divided the public and is on track to become the most-watched pay-per-view fight of the year.
Gallen's trainer Graham Shaw said Hall's only hope of winning is for the referee to stop the fight.
But without having suffered a single concussion in 19 seasons of NRL football, Gallen's ability to absorb heavy hits and body blows will prove difficult for Hall to overcome.
"The thing with Gal is and it's the same for boxing as it was his rugby league career, he just keeps going," Shaw said.
"We all know that. You can never doubt that with Gal.
"You're going to have to stop him because he's not going to stop the fight himself and say, 'I've had enough.'
"The ref is going to have to stop the fight for Barry Hall to win."
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