South Sydney great Sam Burgess is set to make a massive decision about his career but the former league hardman has already given up a massive payday.
South Sydney great Sam Burgess has revealed he turned down a $1 million payday to fight Paul Gallen in the boxing ring.
Gallen has stated he will retire from boxing at the end of the year but the 40-year-old is still has some fights on his card.
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Although his next fight appears to be heading towards Justin Hodges, there is always the hope he will get to fight Sonny Bill Williams to finally settle their grudge match.
Gallen has twice fought for the Australian heavyweight title, taking both Justis Huni and Kris Terzievski to the 10th round to establish a 12-2-1 record.
But one fight Gallen himself floated was a fight between himself and Burgess — and the former Rabbitohs hardman revealed just how serious the offer was.
speaking on The Bye Round with James GrahamBurgess revealed Gallen almost convinced him to don the gloves.
Asked if he was thinking about trying his hand at boxing, Burgess said: “I won’t be getting into the boxing ring, no.”
“I got offered to fight Gallen, I got offered and initially said no,” Burgess revealed. “Then the contracts came again and I said ‘oh no’. And then the contract came again and I looked and for six minutes work, 3×2 minute rounds, it was…
“A mill for six minutes work?” Graham whispered.
“It’s a lot of money. So I started to contemplate it…” Burgess said.
Graham was hung up on that it would be $10 million an hour and was blown away.
“So I contemplated it, I spoke to some good advisers that I’ve got and it was another decision I was going to make based on money,” Burgess said. “I thought ‘I don’t need the million dollars,’ I mean it’d be nice but in the long run I think the costs outweigh the benefits.
“And also, I’ve got a bung left shoulder. No joke, I’ve tried to do some training but I can’t.
“I would have been taking the mick out of boxing and it would have been a bit disrespectful to the boxers that are out slogging away, I would get paid more than all they would have done.
“And I don’t care. I appreciate what they do, I’m not going to snatch and grab.”
Graham said he respected Gallen had said he was a prize-fighter and was in it to set up his family.
Burgess replied: “He’s done it really well huh. It’s funny with Gallen, he’s sort of turned me a bit. You can’t help but like the charisma he’s shown in the boxing ring.
“You don’t know what you want from him and then you want the fight and he’s in the depths of the rounds and he’s still going when he’s down and out. He’s put boxing on the map a bit in Australia he’s done really well so you got to give him a wrap for that.”
Graham asked: “Is that why you’re scared to fight him?”
Burgess: “I’m not scared to fight him. It’s funny, my mates wind me up about it, I’m not scared. I’m making the smarter decision.”
What is next for Burgess appears to be a coaching career with both South Sydney and Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins reportedly interested in bringing him on in a coaching capacity.
Burgess said coaching was what he wanted to do, particularly after a premature end to his career.
“I found retirement a great challenge, more so than I expected,” Burgess said.
“I thought I’d have it all figured out but I retired a bit sooner than I imagined so I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”
“(Six months after retirement and working in Souths front office and the media) I was probably lacking something in my life, and then I got back into the coaching environment and instantly felt that satisfaction of being able to make a difference and help people and fill my cup.”
Burgess has been working with Orara Valley in the Group 2 bush footy, and has been learning the ropes of the coaching world — paid for a foot and a soft drink from the canteen after each game, a long way from the $1 million for six minutes with Gallen.
But with the Rabbitohs and Dolphins both circling, Burgess admitted he was torn about which way to go.
“I have worked with Wayne for a long time with England and at Souths. You know how much of a great man he is,” Burgess said.
“So as a young aspiring coach, it is appetizing. Also what I like about it too is it is not another NRL club — I don’t have any history with that club, I don’t have any sort of bad blood or whatever.
“Also the chance to learn next to Wayne on a new franchise, when does that come around? It is not often a new franchise comes along and Wayne Bennett is the coach.
“In that respect I think it is a good opportunity for growth. There is a bit to get through yet before we get there.
“Like I am interested in it for sure. I would be stupid not to be.
“My head, my heart is probably South Sydney because I gave so much to the club. I feel that deep draw to the place.
“Wayne wants me there, I would like to work with him. But I’ve also got a couple of other things that might be equally as interesting. I’m not sure where I’m going to end up yet.”
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