It is a great sporting tragedy that large sections of Australian fans have remained cold on Paul Gallen. This changed dramatically on Wednesday.
Paul Gallen, we were terribly wrong.
It is a great tragedy that large sections of Australian sports fans have remained cold on the former NRL star until he crosses the finish line.
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Even the most XXXX-drinking Queensland State of Origin fan who rejects DST would walk away from Wednesday night’s boxing blockbuster with absolute admiration and respect for the man they misunderstood and despised for a professional career dating back to. his NRL debut in 2001
Twenty years later it seems impossible to extend the career further after the roller coaster defeat to Kris Terzievski.
Father’s time hit the former football star like a ton of bricks Wednesday night at Newcastle Entertainment Center when was beaten by the Australian heavyweight champion.
Gallen wowed the crowd with a courageous comeback in the final two rounds, but the judges had no second thoughts about handing the fight over to Terzievski via a unanimous decision (97-92 x 3).
Only with heart, courage and grit has he established himself as an icon of Australian sport. Now it is clear that the point of view is unanimous.
There was a moment in the ninth round of the fight with Terzievski where Gallen first injured his opponent and briefly had the Victorian on wobbly and tired legs.
The crowd went mad and chants of “Gallen” rose in the stands.
Gallen has also been a divisive figure in Newcastle – a city that bleeds red and blue for the Knights – due to his career with the Sharks.
But that was forgotten in the ninth round when the crowd came behind Gallen with everything he had.
Asked about singing after the fight, Gallen said with self-mockery and a smile: “There were some of them. I don’t know what they were doing.”
There are many in that crowd who would probably now want to go back and hug Gallen decades ago.
Main Event boxing commentator Paul Kent said after the fight the singing of the crowd was a significant moment.
“I think we saw something tonight and the audience finally turned to Paul Gallen,” he said.
“In the end they appreciated his performance. He was so brave out there. I said before the fight that hand speed might be a concern and we saw it tonight.
“In the first rounds he was dominated only by the speed of Kris Terzievski’s hand. But only through pressure, courage, pride, will he be able to get back into the fight. And on the ninth lap the crowd had risen to their feet and was behind Gallen.
“Generally he was booed all over the place, even in NSW, it took his entire sporting career, but he won them over.”
Originally published as Australia owes Paul Gallen an apology after an incredible encounter