It’s been 26 years since his last fight and retired AFL legend Barry Hall is out to make up for lost time ahead of the “Code War” against NRL star Paul Gallen.
The two former footballers will get in the ring for a heavyweight stoush at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on November 15.
Hall has taken leave from work and shifted his young family north to train daily with renowned cornerman Angelo Hyder, who previously trained Danny Green.
Green is the promoter of the event and says he’s undecided who will win but he thinks it will come in a knock-out.
Aged 42, Hall hasn’t fought since he was 16 – a year after he won the Victorian age title.
He dropped boxing for football and went on to play with St Kilda, Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs.
A noted hard man on the AFL field, Hall was famously suspended for seven weeks for knocking out West Coast Eagles defender Brent Staker with a vicious blow to the head.
Four years younger, Cronulla great Gallen retired from the NRL last month after 19 seasons but has fought nine times since making his debut in 2014 for nine victories – five by KO.
Despite his time out of the ring, Hall said he felt confident about his chances.
He said he weighed about the same as his playing days, despite retiring in 2011, and had kept up his fitness.
“A lot of people will say I’m too old but I know my body and I know what I’m capable of,” Hall said.
“It’s a long time between drinks but I’m training twice a day and I’m enjoying it so far.
“I’m very comfortable in the ring.”
He said he’d been sparring regularly with boxers of Gallen’s burly build, given he holds a 14cm height advantage over the rugby league great.
Hall admitted it would be hard to take Gallen down.
“He’s tough and he walks through a lot of bloke’s punches and we’re aware of that and he will get to me at some stage but I’m not going to stand there and cop it.”
With his last win a second-round KO of John Hopoate in Sydney in February, Gallen has also stepped up his training.
He’s heading to the UK on a speaking tour next week but has lined up gyms and sparring partners to keep his preparation on track.
Gallen said Hall was a formidable opponent, who he’d long been warned off by players he knew at the Swans.
“He’s already had 16 amateur fights which is more than me so he’s going to know what he’s doing,” Gallen said.
“Guys who fight as amateurs get taught the basics of boxing and that’s the most important thing and that will all come back to him.
“But I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep up with the pace I’m going to go at, he won’t be able to cop it so once we get in there it’s going to be a shock for him.”