Paul Gallen and Justin Hodges clash at press conference ahead of double-header

Justin Hodges didn’t hang around for the end of the press conference ahead of his fight with Paul Gallen on Thursday night, storming off after the pair clashed on Tuesday.

Tensions have been building ahead of Gallen’s fights with both Hodges and Ben Hannant later this week and the war of words threatened to turn into more.

After a back and forth over boxing credentials and footballing exploits, Gallen turned to the most faithful of callouts: “Run at me.”

Presumably not wishing to be labelled a cat, Hodges stood up and made his way across the stage to Gallen before the pair came together.

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While it didn’t quite have the same intensity as the first hit-up in an Origin decider, it did suggest there will be plenty of feeling when Gallen takes on the two former Maroons at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on Thursday.

After the clash, Hodges walked away as Gallen chased him with some more sledging.

“Make sure you kiss your kids goodnight before you go to the fight, mate,” Gallen said.

“Hopefully you wake up.”

After the press conference, Gallen said he wasn’t bothered by the run-in.

“That’s what happens when tempers flare but I couldn’t give a crap really,” he said.

“I’m gonna knock both these bums out pretty quick.

“If I go longer than four or five rounds [combined], something’s wrong.”

The Queenslanders’ record over Gallen in the Origin arena has come up in the days and weeks leading up to the fight but Hodges stepped things up a notch when he labelled Gallen the “worst Origin captain in history” at a media event in Brisbane on Monday.

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That feeling continued into Tuesday’s press conference but Gallen said their success on the field will count for nothing.

“They’re not in my league. They’re trying to compare what’s happened up here [in Queensland] in the past in rugby league. This isn’t rugby league,” he told reporters.

“They’re talking about team sport and being in a good team. This isn’t a team sport. 

“When they go out there and realise they’re in the ring by themself… they’re going to s**t themselves big time.”

The much-discussed format for the event was also – partially – revealed on Tuesday when it was confirmed both fights would be four, two-minute rounds with at least an hour in between.

In a surprise twist, Gallen won’t know which order he will be taking them on until one of them walks out for the first bout.

Regardless, Gallen is supremely confident and even spoke about his wish of making his opponents quit in the ring.

“I’d love for it to be like an MMA fight where they have to tap out because they’re soft c**ks,” he said.

“I’d love to just put them in a mental space where they know they’ve got nowhere to go, I’d love them to quit, that would be ideal.

“Even if I could stop them with a body shot, just show the cowards that they are.”

Gallen also responded to Sonny Bill Williams, who last week, at the press conference announcing his fight with Mark Hunt, said Gallen had gone cold on the idea of a fight between the pair.

“Just show the people the correspondence. Show the people the contract, prove that I’m a liar,” Gallen said.

“There’s nothing that he can show, we haven’t had a conversation. It’s all crap. 

“That fight between me and Sonny will never ever happen. I don’t want it anymore, I’m done but I have tried to chase it for 10 years and the only reason that hasn’t happened is because of them. Let’s make that clear.”

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