Boxing: NRL legend Justin Hodges promises to knock out former All Black Liam Messam at Fight for Life

NRL legend Justin Hodges vows to bring the biff to Fight for Life, as he prepares to take on former All Black Liam Messam on April 27. 

The former Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters and Queensland star was known for his aggressive approach, especially in the State of Origin arena, and already has eight boxing bouts under his belt. 

Now, he's promising to take Messam to the cleaners in Auckland next month. 

"I'm going to come here and knock Liam out, there's no doubt about that," Hodges said. "I do respect him as a rugby union player, but obviously league is a lot tougher. 

"He probably wants to be Sonny Bill Williams, [but] I'm going to prove to you that he's not - Sonny's a great athlete. 

"I'm going to come here [in] eight weeks' time [and] I'm going to put on a massive show, and I'm going to knock Liam out."

After two defeats to fellow rugby league veteran Paul Gallen, Hodges is eager to prove himself against his cross-code counterpart. 

"I got a phone call from Monty Betham over the Christmas holidays, I'd just come off the back of fighting Gal [Gallen] twice," he told Newshub. 

"It's a great opportunity. I've always wanted to come over here and fight, and what a way to come over here to get to fight someone and also raise some money, and shine some light on some of the causes we're fighting for. 

"It's going to be a massive test and I look forward to knocking him out at home. I haven't had a victory for the last two fights and I'm really eager to get back in that winning circle." 

Kiwi Mea Motu headlines the night with her IBO world super-bantamweight world title fight against Canadian Tania Walters in the main event. 

Liam Messam in action for the Chiefs
Liam Messam in action for the Chiefs. Photo credit: Photosport

Fellow local professionals Jarome Pampellone and Andrei Mikhailovich will face Mose Auimatagi and Edisson Saltarin respectively, as they both look to keep unbeaten records alive. 

Former All Blacks Sevens star DJ Forbes will tackle NZ Warriors legend Sione Faumuina, while Sam Tuitupo and Roy Asotasi round off the celebrity bouts.

Messam isn't taking the same aggressive approach to the trashtalking as Hodges and is treading with caution going into the bout.

"He's a tough fighter, he's definitely got a strong right hand," Messam said. "We'll just be working at our gym down in Hamilton Hit Fitness, and just keep grinding away and come up with a gameplan for on the night."

In the past, Messam's voiced his aspirations to fight for a belt before he hangs up the gloves, but as he approaches 40, he admits the grind of training for big fights can take its toll. 

"The enjoyment is still there about getting punched in the head, which is weird, because you either love it or you don't. 

"The grinding part during the summer holiday is pretty tough. We're pretty lucky we had a pretty crappy summer down in Hamilton, so just been in the gym and you just bang away.

"I'm really excited about this though. We're eight weeks out, so [I'm] looking to get fit and sharpen up for this."