'Get some judges that can score': Paul Gallen disappointed despite remaining undefeated with draw in bout with Barry Hall

Disappointment: The bout between Paul Gallen and Barry Hall was scored a majority draw. Picture: Main Event/Twitter
Disappointment: The bout between Paul Gallen and Barry Hall was scored a majority draw. Picture: Main Event/Twitter

Paul Gallen was on the front foot for the majority of his fight against Barry Hall on Friday night and he remained on the front foot post-bout, launching a scathing attack on the judges after they scored the fight a majority draw.

One judge awarded the fight at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne 58-56 to Gallen, with the remaining two judges scoring the bout 57-57.

The former Cronulla Sharks captain, who retired from rugby league in September, was left bitterly disappointed with the decision despite remaining undefeated as a professional.

The 38-year-old went into the fight - billed as a 'Code War' between the former NRL and AFL stars - with an unblemished 9-0 record, while Hall was making his professional debut.

The former AFL premiership-winner Hall enjoyed a 15-0 record during a decorated amateur career and, despite being 42-years-old, had plenty of advantages over Gallen. Standing at almost 15 centimetres taller and enjoying an almost 20cm reach advantage, Hall was expected to use his jab and superior technique and speed to keep the much shorter Gallen at arm's length.

Then there were the six, two-minute rounds that were expected to favour Hall.

But Cronulla's 2016 premiership-winning captain refused to be stopped. Gallen was relentless and, despite wearing some good shots, came forward for almost the entire fight.

The two-minute rounds went by in a flash. It felt like they were too short, in that the fighters were just getting into their stride in a round only to be cut short. That, and the lengthy delays as the referee lectured the fighters on several occasions.

A question that has been asked in sporting circles for two decades has been how good could Hall have been should he have pursued boxing instead of Australian football?

The answer on this evidence was that he could have been anything. Hall showed good speed and excellent technique, landing a number of clean, crisp shots on Gallen including one brutal uppercut.

But to his credit, Gallen was the aggressor for almost the entire fight. If Hall perhaps shaded the first round, it was Gallen who looked the stronger in rounds two to four before both fighters appeared to tire late on.

"Get some judges that can score," Gallen said in the ring after the fight.

"One judge had it right, no doubt about it. The other two got it wrong.

"I knew he'd be good. He was an amateur champion. We all know in Australia amateurs are better than the pros a lot of the time. He was in good shape. He'd been training a long time for that.

Paul Gallen. Picture: Jane Dyson

Paul Gallen. Picture: Jane Dyson

"Honestly I thought it was obvious. He hit me with some good shots but I kept coming forward. I constantly put the pressure on. I'm disappointed with the draw. I hit him more times than he hit me. I'm ready to do it again if he wants.

"Maybe if the fight was in Sydney it'd be a different story. I'm disappointed but that's boxing."

Hall was disappointed with his performance despite giving a good account of himself but was non-committal about the possibility of a rematch.

"It's hard to tell. One judge gave it to Gal so he probably won," Hall said.

"It was an itch I wanted to scratch for a long time but circumstances didn't work out. I didn't want to discredit boxing, that's why I took on such a big challenge. I hope I can inspire some older people in the crowd to get off their arse and do something.

"I'm not sure if I want to do it again.

"We're two competitive beasts. He's a good guy, I know that. I'd have a beer with him. I'd even buy him one. I just hope people can see that we were doing the sport some good not harm by the fight we put on tonight. I hope everyone was entertained."