Paul Gallen vs Justin Hodges 2 round length, fighters and camps debate rules for rematch

6 Min Read

He was the man who famously threw in the towel for Jeff Horn – and now Adam Copeland is urging Paul Gallen to do the right thing and stop “disrespecting” Australian fight fans.

Only a fortnight out from his hyped boxing farewell, a furious Gallen is still locked in negotiations with both Queensland rival Justin Hodges and promoters No Limit over round length.

While the NSW Origin great wants traditional rounds of three minutes, Hodges’ crew – led by head trainer Copeland – insists the rounds go two minutes or they don’t fight.

The impasse even bubbled over during a recent recording of the Main Event ‘Face Off’ program, when the retired Origin stars traded insults over the situation (watch in the video player above).

Watch Gallen v Hodges 2 LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo Sports, Wednesday November 23 from 7pm AEDT ORDER NOW >

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During an intense back-and-forth, Gallen suggested the pair had already agreed to three-minute rounds while in the ring following their initial September showdown, to which Hodges replied: “Well, I was knocked out”.

“Six three minute rounds or we’re not fighting,” Gallen added later.

The Cronulla premiership hero also accused Hodges of throwing “a coward punch” during their first bout, which he eventually won via a controversial TKO.

Speaking with Fox Sports Australia this week however, Copeland stressed he has no interest in letting Hodges, now aged 40, fight over anything but rounds of two minutes.

The Brisbane trainer is no stranger to standing his ground either given, back in 2020, he famously threw in the towel for Horn when his great mate was copping a beating from rising Australian star Tim Tszyu.

At the time, the move drew widespread praise given Horn’s own trainer Glenn Rushton was urging his fighter on, which was branded “disgraceful” in commentary by Jeff Fenech.

While Gallen is now arguing anything less than three-minute rounds is disrespectful to boxing, Copeland suggests the opposite is actually true.

The trainer said that apart from the fight being between retired footballers in their forties, two-minute rounds also gave his charge a far greater chance to win — and thereby made the event more entertaining for viewers.

“Look, we’re fighting to win,” Copeland stressed. “And two minute rounds are an advantage for us.

“We know that, and Gal knows that.

“He knows that if we shorten the rounds it works in Hodgo’s favour.”

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Yet Copeland also argued that, if the rounds go three minutes, it allows Gallen to box, move and overall create a “boring” fight that eventually goes to the judges scorecards.

“And nobody is paying to see these guys box,” he stressed.

“They want to see them knock each other’s heads off.

“So we actually think it’s disrespectful to all those who pay their hard earned money if we go to threes and it becomes a boring fight.

“If people want real boxers, great — you’ve got a heap of guys on the undercard like Paulo Aokuso who will fight 10 threes.

“If you want to watch pure boxing, watch them.

“I’ve heard Gal talk about disrespecting boxing but, mate, Hodgo isn’t trying to be a boxer.

“That isn’t what he’s there for.

“He’s there for entertainment.

“So Gal’s argument, it’s silly.

“We aren’t trying to be boxers.”

So two minutes or nothing?

“Yeah, that’s our thought,” Copeland says. “And we’re standing firm.

“Because we don’t need to fight over three-minute rounds.

“We’ve always thought six, twos.

“That way you have enough rounds to suit Gal, plus you also have the timing of the rounds which suits the explosiveness of Hodgo.

“You meet in the middle and entertain.”

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Which will undoubtedly result in someone getting KO’d, right?

“If Hodgo doesn’t win by KO he doesn’t win,” the trainer replied.

“It’s simple.

“I’m not going to go teach him the sweet science of boxing. He needs to set up that right hand and hit his opponent hard.

“And that (style) actually hurts Gal.

“Because when others guys get hit, they back off. Don’t want any more part of it.

“But Gal is so tough, he comes forward even more.

“And that’s his downfall.

“He runs into those shots.”

Copeland also stressed there wasn’t a ‘real’ boxer anywhere on the undercard who would feel slighted if the headliners fought over six rounds of two minutes each.

“I can tell you they don’t give a s…,” he said.

“They’re happy to be getting paid and getting the exposure.

“And I know that because I was also on a Gallen undercard once.

“And I was grateful for that opportunity.”

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