AFL star Barry Hall has been sparring former world champion Danny Green in a Perth gym giving credence to the idea the footy superstar is serious about a career in the professional boxing ring.
While questions were being asked at the Swans about Hall’s intentions, he spent most of the week in Perth with Green rediscovering the art his father Ray taught him 15 years ago when he boxed as an amateur in Victoria.
Although Hall turned his back on boxing in favour of footy as a teenager because he found the sweet science a lonely pursuit, he continued to use the discipline as a part of his fitness regimen as he established himself as one of the toughest footballers in the modern era.
Green said the four rounds he boxed against Hall on Thursday night confirmed his belief the 31-year-old could be a serious contender. "For a big man, Barry is surprisingly quick," Green said.
"He’s excellent fighting off the back foot. His jab – and that was my bread and butter punch throughout my career – is very good. Barry has been well schooled by his father.
"He has a solid foundation. He’ll need to do some work to be ready for a professional career but he has the goods. He boasts the skills and the technique necessary to make it."
Hall is still contracted to the Sydney Swans for the 2009 season on a deal estimated to be worth $500,000.
Although Hall is reluctant to reveal his intentions, Green was adamant his following throughout Australia would ensure he’d be a crowd favourite.
"People like Barry," said Green who is in tonight’s semi-final of Dancing With The Stars on Channel 7.
"He would attract a great following. He’s six-feet four [193cm], 102 kilos of muscle and is a robust, big bloke who has a presence. He’d be a huge hit."
Green confirmed he had offered Hall a contract. If all goes according to Green’s plan the Swans enforcer will be stepping into the ring for his first fight in early to mid 2009.
"I’ve offered Barry what I think is a tempting deal," he said. "The contract is with him. He has to sit down and discuss it with his advisers. I’ve laid everything out on the table."
Apart from boxing against Green, Hall also locked horns with South African heavyweight title contender Pieter Cronje, who is now based in Perth.
"Barry is extremely fit by footy standards but I think he’d agree boxing needs a different fitness," Green said. "I was very pleased with the way he boxed against Pieter, who is a great talent.
"For someone who hasn’t boxed properly for a long time I was very, very excited by what I saw. "
Green aspires to promote a stable of champion boxers he hopes will include Hall and West Australian whiz-kid Willie Kickett, who has a 13-0 fight record in the super-featherweight division.
"Willie is blessed with plenty of natural ability. He doesn’t care who he’s fighting or where he fights them," Green said.
"He has a great future. And I think the same about Barry,"
While Hall remained tight-lipped about his future, he told The Sun-Herald about his passion for boxing in a 2006 interview.
He revealed how his father, a mechanic, set his workshop up as a gymnasium for Hall to train in.
However, Hall lost interest, even though he made some inroads in the amateur ranks.
"I guess it probably wasn’t the ideal thing for a kid of 15 or 16 to train twice a day every day while his mates were out playing footy, winning grand finals and going to parties," Hall said at the time.
"I wasn’t enjoying the boxing and thought, ‘No more’, but telling my father was very hard. I could see it was tough for Dad to hear me say I wanted out." It would now appear – judging by The Sun-Herald’s exclusive photos – that Hall has reignited the fire within.