Arrogant blunder in Gallen-Hunt fight
Mark Hunt made a habit of delivering walk-off KOs during his UFC career but the Super Samoan's arrogance is what cost him victory over Paul Gallen on Wednesday night.
The rugby league legend won a unanimous points decision over Hunt as the two slugged out a six-round war that left the boxing world in awe of Gallen, who was somehow able to keep fighting after eating multiple blows from the 46-year-old heavyweight.
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Gallen miraculously stayed on his feet and had enough petrol in the tank to do some damage of his own as the judges rewarded him for a heroic display that now takes his unbeaten streak in the ring to 11.
But Hunt could have stopped it all in the second round when he rocked Gallen with a thunderous right hand that left him vulnerable to a follow-up. Instead, Hunt turned to his corner and spread his arms out as if to suggest he had the fight sown up, only to realise his opponent wasn't going to crumble as meekly as he thought.
Gallen fought back to see out the round, then showed that same courage to make it all the way through six rounds.
The ex-Sharks and NSW Origin captain admitted he was rattled in the second round and couldn't believe his luck when Hunt played up to the crowd.
"He hit me with something in the second round and I don't even know what it was. I didn't even know if I hit the deck or not, but it got me real good," Gallen told Sporting News.
"Thankfully I sucked it in.
"I saw that (Hunt showing off) - that was when I came to.
"He should've jumped all over me, that was his opportunity and you miss all the opportunities you don't take.
"Thankfully he didn't come for me and I came good."
Main Event commentator Ben Damon and Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech noticed Hunt's blue immediately during the call and questioned whether it would come back to haunt him.
"Could Mark Hunt not have gone for that knockout? Could it come against him later on? Can Gallen come back? Fenech said.
"Can you believe that? He had an opportunity to jump on him but he turned around, looked at the corner and said, 'I'm going to get him'.
"It gave Gallen time to breathe and time to recover."
Damon said Hunt was "showboating for the crowd". "Hunt looked to have him gone but he just waited on it," he added.
"Hunt seemed to have him gone but he took his foot off."
That sentiment was echoed by Main Event pundit Paul Kent and Australian boxing icon Barry Michael in the post-fight analysis.
"To be honest with you, Mark Hunt took his foot off the pedal for a little bit there in round two," Michael said.
"I think maybe he was a little bit gassed himself, probably thought he had him on toast and just stepped back to have a look at his work.
"As it turned out it was a really bad blue."
Kent believes Hunt's body of work in the UFC gave him a false sense of security when he connected flush with Gallen, foolishly thinking his power was going to be too much for the former NRL hardman.
"In the UFC period of his career he was famous for the walk-off knockout where he'd turn on the guy," Kent said.
"Mark Hunt had this ability to hit them in the chin, know they were gone and he just turned around and walked off, cool as a cucumber.
"It looked like he tried that again tonight but underestimated the recuperative powers of Paul Gallen."
Michael added: "It's possible that's what it was but you should never underestimate that man Paul Gallen, because he's got such a fighting heart.
"He's got a great chin and as he said his fitness is what gets him through as well."
Originally published as Arrogant blunder in Gallen-Hunt fight