High-profile pair in Gallen’s sights for next fight
PAUL Gallen wants a bout with Sonny Bill Williams, but with virtually no chance of that happening the Cronulla powerhouse is keen to finish his boxing career by taking out fellow league enforcers Manu Vatuvei and Justin Hodges.
"I go to schools, I go to hospitals, I go to businesses and without fail every single time they ask me, 'When are you going to fight Sonny Bill?'," Gallen said after knocking out John Hopoate on Friday night.
"And then he comes out and says I'm dreaming about him. The ball's in his court not mine.
"There's no point asking me - it's been spoken about since my first fight and nothing's happened.
"I agreed to a contract with (Williams' agent) Khoder (Nasser) and sums, verbally, and that ended in 2015, the fight was supposed to happen at the start of 2017."
A disagreement over the revenue split with broadcasters is understood to be the key issue that will derail any plans for a Gallen-Williams bout, and the Cronulla Sharks forward is not going to spend his days wondering what could be.
"It's not the be all and end all to fight Sonny," 37-year-old Gallen said.
"It's going to be a big event, everyone wants to see it, it'd be massive, but it's not going to be the be all and end all.
"I'm going finish footy this year, have a couple of fights and enjoy retirement, I've worked my arse off for 20 years, I haven't too many years left in me, maybe six months, maybe 12 months."
Vatuvei, who made his professional boxing debut with a first-round knockout late last year, has emerged as Gallen's likely opponent in November once the prop has retired from the NRL.
Hodges, who scored a 75-second knockout win on the undercard to Gallen-Hopoate, is expected to have at least three more heavyweight bouts in preparation for a State of Origin grudge match against Gallen in 2020.
"I like Hodgo, I've got nothing against him, but at the end of the day it's a professional sport and if they want to make it happen, yeah, we can make it happen," Gallen said.
"While I'm not trying to say how good I am at boxing, I think I've gone past the footy players. He's a retired footy player so he can box full-time, so he's probably in a different kettle of fish there.
"If (Manu) wants to do it I'm happy to do it. I hope I can get through the footy season and we have a successful year. I'll see towards the back end of the year and see if we can make something of it."