Anthony Mundine blazed a trail in the boxing world as the first NRL player to take his talents to the ring and made an estimated $30 million doing it.
Paul Gallen recently confirmed he had made more money during his 15-fight career in the squared circle than his entire 348-game NRL career with the Sharks.
The riches on offer for established names within rugby league to score a handsome payday in boxing, will undoubtedly lead to more players throwing on the gloves to test their worth in the fight game.
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Ahead of Gallen’s double-header bout against former league stars Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena, Wide World of Sports asked the former NSW captain who the next wave of NRL players to jump in the ring might be and here’s what he said.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona – 201cm, 115kg
“Jumping into the boxing ring is a bit different to having a fight at a bar with Balinese people.
“It’s a little bit different. He certainly looks scary in that video. But getting in the ring it’s a different prospect altogether.
“But certainly he would have capabilities, no doubt about that, he’s a big guy, long arms and powerful. But I don’t think we can read too much into that video.”
Jordan Mclean – 196cm, 118kg
“He’s like Nelson, tall, long arms. I have no idea whether he can fight or even wants to.
“I’ve never seen or heard of him punching pads.
“It would be a big stretch to say anything without seeing what he can do. He certainly has the measurables.
“He plays tough on the footy field so that can translate to the ring but skill is huge.”
Junior Paulo – 188cm, 123kg
“Yeah he’s good. He knows how to fight. He’s fast and has good skills. He could be one that could certainly step in there.
“He’d be the one at the top of the tree at the moment I reckon. If you were ranking them he would be No.1.
“He can wear a punch and can string a few together.
“It’s not all about aggression. If it was you’d just move forward all day. There’s a lot of skills involved.
“A lot of things people have no idea about. If you’ve got power, no doubt that helps, but you’ve got to be able to land that shot and land a right.
“There’s so much more involved than beating someone up.”
Jack Wighton – 190cm, 96kg
“If you’re talking about aggression and someone who’s willing to have a go. He’s one for sure.
“He wouldn’t die wondering, Jack Wighton. I think he’d go really well to be honest with you.
“It’s a matter of whether he wants to do it and put himself out there and have a go.
“I’m not too sure I think he’s actually managed by No Limit, the best promoter in Australia, so he’s certainly got the ability if he wants to do it.
“No doubt he could be one of the best from the NRL to have a crack.
“Whether he’s got rounds or done much sparring I don’t know.
“There’s no doubt he’s been taught to punch. If he put his mind to it and wanted to do it, he could.”
David Klemmer – 198cm, 116kg
“He’s got the body shape. Tall and long arms goes a long way in boxing. I’ve never seen him punch but he’s certainly got the look.
“He’s got a scary look. But I’d have to see how he’d go. The boxing ring there’s nothing like it.
“You can’t prepare for it with a fight on the footy field. But he’s got the mongrel and the will, and could certainly do it if he wanted to.
“Like JWH (Jared Waerea-Hargreaves) he’s got the look as well.”
Josh Papalii – 183cm, 110kg
“He had a fight with Ben Hannant, it didn’t go that well for him to be honest.
“Everyone was expecting a hell of a lot with his cousin being Alex Leapai. There was talk that he was taught by his cousin and they used to get into it every now and then in the backyard.
“He had a pretty big reputation and it didn’t go as well as he wanted it to.
“It was his first fight though and he knows how to throw a punch, he could do it if he gave it time and developed.”
Josh Aloiai – 188cm, 106kg
“There are that many rumours about footy players until you put your balls on the line and have a crack you don’t know.
“I heard all the stories about him he had the opportunity to fight me but he pulled out.
“I’ve never seen him throw a punch.”
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