Paul Gallen has confirmed secret talks to fight Sonny Bill Williams took place without success, while laughing off reports a fight with Tyson Fury "is on the table."
Months into retirement from the fight game, Gallen's name is still being floated in boxing circles with promoters, reporters and fans wondering whether the former Sharks skipper is done for good.
Since his last fight against Justin Hodges, Gallen, who turns 42 in August, has told Wide World of Sports on numerous occasions that he was "over it" when asked about continuing his career in the ring, adding that he had no interest in lacing the gloves again.
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Yet, whispers had been growing that Gallen was contemplating a return in one last hurrah against Williams, despite a stalemate between the two camps previously.
Since Gallen officially called time on his career and fulfilled his fight contract with Main Event, the former NSW captain is more or less a free agent if he decides to give it one more go.
The former NRL player confirmed he had been in secret talks to fight Williams, but discussions weren't with the ex-All Blacks great's well respected manager Khoder Nasser.
"Last conversation I had with Khoder is when I rang him over a year ago," he told Wide World of Sports. "I said mate, "I told everyone 2021 would be my last year, I'm retiring very soon. If we're going to make this fight happen we've got to make it happen now."
"Nothing happened with it, they got nowhere near it."
Gallen said that about six months after his retirement, streaming platform Stan, which is owned by Nine, had attempted to resurrect the possibility of a fight with SBW to no avail.
Gallen is adamant he's finished with boxing, despite several reports linking him to a bout with Williams and most recently current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Williams is plotting a return to the ring at an unknown date following his KO loss to Mark Hunt in 2022.
"They need to keep Sonny relevant to drive who he's going to fight next and mentioning my name does that for him. That's the reason why I think they're still mentioning me," Gallen said.
As for Fury?
"I'm flattered," he said. "He mentioned me a while back and said something like, 'I know that Paul Gallen he's a tough bugger or something like that.' That was pretty cool to be mentioned by him, I actually put it on my Instagram, but I don't think I'll be doing that one.
"I remember a year or two ago, I said, 'I wouldn't mind fighting Tyson,' when you're in the zone, it would be an amazing opportunity to say you got in the ring with him. But when you're past it, which I am, I wouldn't be saying that."
Fury's promoters are reportedly in talks with the Queensland and Victorian governments for the 'Gypsy King' to headline Australia's first heavyweight world-title fight in over a century.
Fury told News Corp a possible $20 million blockbuster against Gallen or Williams "is on the table" while mentioning basically every other Aussie fighting in the heavy divisions as a possible opponents during his promotional tour after watching Joseph Parker defeat "Django" Opelu on Wednesday.
Although, it's understood the frontrunner to fight the "Gypsy King" is world ranked Queenslander Demsey McKean (22-0, 14KO) with Fury confirming he met with McKean's management in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"I think he's doing a great thing for Australian boxing at the moment," Gallen added. "He's supposed to be fighting Demsey McKean, Jai Opetaia, Lucas Browne, Sonny Bill Williams, now me.
"To be realistic he's over here on a promotional visit. I don't know if he'll be fighting anyone to be honest.
"He's a salesman, one thing he can do is sell a fight and himself and he's doing great things by throwing up some Aussie names, but in reality I don't know if he'll ever fight them."
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