Paul Gallen was getting a massage this afternoon when he heard his mobile phone “buzzing like crazy” and wondered what was going on.
The rugby league legend soon learned his boxing match against Josh Aloiai had been dramatically postponed due to the Manly star testing positive to COVID-19.
The pair were scheduled to step into the ring in Newcastle on December 10, the major drawcard of a two-day boxing event organised by No Limit Boxing.
Gallen and Aloiai had been bickering for months about the length of their bout, and finally settled on eight two-minute rounds, although Gallen wanted to fight three-minute rounds.
Speaking to Wide World of Sports after learning the news, Gallen was still coming to grips with the fact the fight may now not happen at all.
“Pretty disappointing. I don’t really know what to make of it to be honest, trying to get my head around it,” Gallen said.
“I’ve been told BJ Leilua also has COVID… I’ve been told both of them aren’t sick, and BJ is saying he’s sweet to fight. That’s why they postponed the event, in the hope Josh also says he’s sweet to fight.
Paul Gallen and Josh Aloiai argue over fight rounds
“I just got off the phone to Matt Rose and Matt is concerned that Josh doesn’t want it. That’s what his concern is. I don’t know what to make of it, I don’t know what to think.
“Matt is concerned Manly will now step in and say (Aloiai) can’t do it, which means Josh basically saves face because Manly pull him out.
“This is second-hand information, it’s what Matt’s told me. I believe him, I have no reason not to believe him.”
Rose – the face of No Limit – told Gallen the event will be postponed to December 22, although the statement sent to media did not specify a new date.
Fellow rugby league star Leilua was due to fight Chris Heighington on the same card, but reports say he also tested positive to COVID-19 after sparring with Aloiai on Monday.
Gallen now faces missing out on a big payday. He says he is prepared to fight someone else, but that decision will be left up to Rose and No Limit.
“Not much I can do. If I don’t fight, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. That’s the way it is,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter all the training you do, all the months leading up to it.
“I have no doubt I’ll have every man and his dog jumping up and down saying ‘I’ll fight him’… but at the end of the day it’s Matt Rose’s decision. He is the numbers man, he’s the one who decides if the fight can go ahead.
“As I said from day one I’m a prize fighter, and if it doesn’t make sense to Matt as far as the numbers go (then) it won’t happen.
“I want to fight, I’ve prepared for the last two months, so I’d be prepared to without a doubt. But it’s got to come to me from Matt.
“I can’t go to Matt and say I want to fight Joe Blow down the road, he will say ‘mate it doesn’t sell, no one knows who he is’. It all comes down to the numbers, and Matt is an expert at that, that’s why he is the promoter.”
Gallen has been training to peak on December 10 but must now alter his schedule.
“At the moment I don’t know. I’ll probably have the rest of this week off to be honest and weigh up what happens in the next few days.
“It’s not going to be on the 10th now… there’s at least another 12 days there.”
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