Hopoate: I’m going to bash Gallen
John Hopoate has vowed to "bash" Paul Gallen for looking past him towards an ultimate showdown against Sonny Bill Williams.
Gallen has confirmed that his next professional boxing bout will be against former league bad boy Hopoate on February 8 at Star Casino, after which he'll look to organise a much-anticipated fight with Williams.
"They're already thinking ahead, they've got to worry about me, I'm going to bash Gal," Hopoate said.
"I've still got the power there, and even though I haven't fought for a while I feel more confident as a boxer now than when I was winning the Australian title.
"I've got the experience and power to stop him, I think I will stop him."
Hopoate, 44, and Gallen, 37, are already trading barbs, with both claiming that the other pushed for their fight to be six by two-minute rounds, rather than the traditional three minute-rounds.
"They pushed for that, I spar threes, I train threes, so two minutes is going to be a walk in the park for me," Hopoate said.
"But Gal is a fit bastard, I'll give him that, but they think I'm an easy target because I've been out of the game, and they've picked the wrong person."
Gallen said this was completely false, and fight promoter Matt Rose confirmed it was Hopoate that sought two-minute rounds.
"I was frustrated, I requested three minutes, he's a former Australian champion so it should be three minutes," Gallen said.
"That's something I requested, he's telling porkies there, without a doubt it comes back in his favour.
"I know his preparation is going to be good, I've got people in Manly who've seen him running the streets at 6am, I know he's sparring regularly so as far as boxing he's got a lot more experience than me.
"I've hardly done a session in the last 12 months but anyone who knows me knows I'll be prepared come the night.
"He's got one round to knock me out. If he can't knock me out I think I'll win the fight."
Hopoate (12-5, 11KO) has not stepped into the ring since 2010, when he was disqualified against Shane Cameron, one year after he'd defeated Bob Mirovic for the Australian heavyweight title.
Gallen (8-0, 4KO) won a unanimous decision against debutant Puna Rasaubale in November 2017 in his previous outing.
Hopoate will be preparing for the bout while also having to front court on driving charges in January.
"Nothing worries me, it's the story of my life, being in the media for the wrong reasons," Hopoate said.
"Nothing is going to happen to me, all I'm focused on is beating Gal on February 8, nothing's going to stop me.
"A lot of people do hate him too, he might just get me in that department.
"No one psyches me out, I don't care who you are.
"I'm in this game because I want to win, and because I've got kids to feed."