'I will retire Gallen' - John Hopoate
(AAP Image/Paul Braven)
John Hopoate claims Paul Gallen has made a mistake getting into the ring with him and he can end the Cronulla captain's careers in both boxing and the NRL.
The duo face off on February 8 at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on the undercard of Tim Tszyu's challenge for the vacant Commonwealth super middleweight crown.
"I want to bash Gal, I'll retire him from footy and boxing," said 45-year-old Hopoate on Thursday.
"Does he fear me? Yeah I think he does, this is a big step up for him.
"I've got to give it to him for jumping in the ring, but he's stepping in with the wrong bloke."
Controversial ex-NRL player Hopoate had a string of professional fights from 2006-10 and held the Australian heavyweight title after beating Bob Mirovic in an nine-round epic in 2008.
However his last fight resulted in a bizarre second-round disqualification for persistent holding and grabbing against New Zealand's Shane Cameron in 2010.
"They think I'll be an easy target because I've been out the ring for a couple of years," said Hopoate.
"I'm going to hurt him, because he's never fought any proper fighters before.
"All Gal's fights have been against first-time fighters and he's stepping up at the wrong time."
Hopoate, who was recently banned from any involvement in rugby league for 10 years, says he wants to continue boxing as training for the Gallen fight has reignited his passion for the sport.
"I'd like to fight the four guys from the New South Wales Rugby League who gave me the 10-year suspension," he said.
"After I've finished Gal next week, I'd love to fight Lucas Browne."
© AAP 2019