The old adage goes that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and it might be true for the Australian boxing scene.
Paul Gallen is preparing for a punch in boxing history when he takes on Kris Terzievski for the Australasian Heavyweight Title on May 11 at the Newcastle Entertainment Center as one of three main events on a card of epic proportions.
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With a win, Gallen would be the first crossover athlete to win the title.
And a loss?
“It probably means the end,” said Gallen foxsports.com.au.
“Without a doubt, I will be retiring at the end of this year.
“There are not many months left in the year, so maybe one more fight or two.
“Look, if this fight didn’t go in the right direction, it could be the end.
“I just have to make sure I get the job done so I can live to fight another day.”
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Fighting another day will not be an easy task for the former Cronulla Sharks star as he faces a fighter who is 10-1-1 with eight knockouts.
It’s a huge risk for Gallen, but has the 40-year-old ever shied away from a challenge?
When he goes into battle, he has the advantage of knowing afterwards what the ideal preparation looks like
Ahead of his fight against Justis Huni for the Australian Heavyweight Championship last year, Gallen decided to take the fight a little lighter as he focused heavily on his fitness.
It was a move that backfired because he knew from experience in his days as a rugby player that a lighter body meant more bumps and bruises.
“But since I’m a different sport, I thought it would be different,” said Gallen.
“When I got hit, I got hurt. Getting hurt in that fight made it a tough night.”
Terzievski also poses a “completely different” challenge for Gallen, as the 31-year-old is left-handed.
Gal has worked to counter this by sparring exclusively southpaws during his camp,
“Just keep pushing it,” Gallen said. “That’s how I fight anyway, he’ll know that.
“But I have to keep putting him under pressure.
“He won’t be fit enough to do that for 10 laps.
“I think in the end it will catch up with him and I will be able to finish the fight.”
If Gal’s gaze into the crystal ball of how the fight will play out doesn’t exude enough confidence, it’s his belief that he can pull off the groundbreaking feat that could make those in the doubter camp switch allegiances.
“To be able to win as the first crossover star is going to be something very special,” said Gallen.
“I never got into the sport to win titles or anything like that.
“But to be able to do it in one of my last fights would be pretty cool.
“It’s something I never set out to achieve, but everything I set out to do in rugby league I was able to achieve.
“There’s no reason I can’t achieve that.”
Whether he raises his hand at the end of the fight or it’s actually the moment when he hangs up the gloves once and for all, there’s no denying that Gallen has become a crowd puller in his eight-year career in the ring.
He proved to others that there is a path to success in two very different sports.
However, the man himself has never engaged in any form of legacy or title fight.
It was always about one thing.
“I have one goal in life and that is to provide for my family,” Gallen said.
“That’s my goal, that’s what I’m going to do.
“I love my four children and that’s what I’m doing: to take care of them and give them a better life than I had.
“If I can do that, I’ve made it. This is my legacy.
“Whatever people want to remember me about, that’s up to them and I don’t care.”