«There’s no point asking me, you know the answer there,» Gallen said. «It’s been spoken about since my first fight, the Fight For Life in 2012. Straight away it came out ‘Gallen-Sonny, Gallen-Sonny!’
«I was like ‘Nah, he’s a good fighter’. Two years later I said ‘let’s do it’, that was 2013-14. And nothing has happened.
«I agreed to a contract with [Williams’ manager] Khoder [Nasser], nothing written but sums done verbally. At the end of 2015, the fight [was agreed] to start in 2017 but nothing ever happened.
«He’s got the World Cup this year, he’ll be focused on that. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year.»
Speaking to the Herald late last year, Williams denied he was dodging Gallen and predicted the much-anticipated bout would happen.
«Tell my good friend Paul, he can just relax and we will get there eventually,» Williams said at the time.
With Gallen preparing for the upcoming NRL season and Williams focused on the World Cup, the end of the year is the next window to finally make it happen. There is already talk about lining up Gallen against former Warrior Manu Vatuvei and former Bronco Justin Hodges, the latter knocking out Ipswich removalist Rob Baron in the first round on debut.
Gallen was far too strong for Hopoate at the Star of the Ring promotion on Friday night. The former NSW captain won the battle of the bad boys, knocking Hopoate face first into the canvas in the second round.
There was plenty of trash talk in the build up, but Gallen showed genuine concern for Hopoate after he struggled to regain his feet. Afterwards, the former Manly winger came into Gallen’s dressing room to warmly congratulate him, the pair putting any ill feeling to rest.
«I like Hop. I’m glad he did that,» Gallen said. «He has a bad reputation and I know what that feels like. I know what type of person he is. He’s always been good to me, he’s always been nice to me. I treat people how they treat me. I can’t condone some of the things he’s done in the past, but he has always been a gentleman to me.
«He’s a family man and he did what he had to do for his family tonight, and so did I.»
Gallen pulled the last of his punches, looking to the referee to stop the fight before he inflicted serious damage on Hopoate. The 37-year-old expected to be panned for being involved in what turned out to be a major mismatch.
«I can’t win, that’s just what it’s like,» he said. «I was on a hiding to nothing. All the pressure was on me, Hop had nothing to lose.
«Everything I’d done was on the line tonight. I got through it convincingly and there will probably be haters out there bagging me for it. What can you do?»
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.