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Theo Jorgensen pulls no punches versus Hansen
Theo Jorgensen and Gus Hansen have been friends for the better part of a decade.
That whole time they've carried on a friendly but spirited rivalry with each other in everything from poker to golf to squash to soccer.
Always on the line are two things: cash, and the knowledge that the loser is going to hear about his loss over and over again.
This weekend the two Danes will take their rivalry to two new levels. First, they're squaring off in the boxing ring. And second, they're doing it live in front of the world for the debut of Hansen's new Internet television channel, Gus TV.
Hansen was seen as the early favorite thanks to his relative youth and athletic background. But bookmakers recently shifted the line pretty solidly in Theo's favor; right now he comes in at -230 to the Great Dane's +155.
Jorgensen himself said there's good reason for that: he's going to win the fight.
"I've been preparing for this fight for four months. Gus has been preparing for four weeks," Jorgensen told PokerListings in a recent conversation.
Over that four-month span Theo has dropped 10 kilos (22 pounds) thanks to a full training regimen designed by top-flight Danish boxing instructor Poul Duville. Theo said that his natural boxing talent is "very very little if [any] at all," but that Duville "has gotten me a very long way."
History might be on Theo's side, too. Though neither man has a boxing background, Gus does have a little history of falling short against his friend in new pursuits. The first time the two played squash, Theo spotted Gus six points out of the nine he needed to win.
"Through his tennis skills he thought it was going to be a walkover, but he ended up losing even when he was spotted eight points to nine. Looking afterwards at his three broken racquets was great."
If the pressure of their competitive history isn't enough, making things even more interesting is the fact that Hansen has an audience tuning in around the world to see him on his own brand-new TV channel.
That may create some additional pressure for Gus, but Theo said no one should expect him to be similarly nervous.
"I couldn't care less if there were six channels or we're doing it in an alley somewhere. Neither of us can afford mentally to lose this one. When I win, it's going to give me needle material for the next 10 years. He is going to lose, that is for sure."
In the end it seems that the result will come down to who wants it the most. To hear Theo tell it, there's no competition in that category.
The Great Dane would be well-advised to keep that in mind when the bell rings Saturday night in Copenhagen and a well-trained Theo Jorgensen closes in on him from the other corner.