PAUL Gallen's heard it all before - he's a part-time boxer, he's making a mockery of the sport, he's taking the spotlight away from 'real' fighters. After 11 fights for 10 wins and a draw, he admits it's started to get tiresome.
It's an issue that cuts to the heart of his April bout with former WBA champion Lucas Browne in Wollongong, one that's set to break pay-per-view records for a heavyweight fight in this country. Gallen is the pay-per-view draw, Browne Australia's only world heavyweight champion.
Promotionally though, there's no question Gallen is the A-side when it comes to bums on seats and eyeballs on TV screens. It's why there's never been a shortage of professional fighters keen to call him out.
Browne has been one of the more vocal, though rising star Justis Huni's camp has also started down that path. Gallen can see the irony, but the questions are getting old.
"People are still saying it now, that it's a joke and whatever else'," Gallen said.
"Guys like Lucas ridicule you when he's done nothing but ridicule Australian boxing for years now. He said he'd never fight here again, said there's no one here to fight, said he's too good for us and here he is calling out a part-time boxer.
"It's laughable how these guys carry on about us not doing the right thing about the sport when they're calling me out because they care about one thing, the payday. He said he'd fight me for free and now I'm the one taking a hundred thousand-dollar reduction to make the fight happen. He wouldn't take any reduction at all.
"For anyone to say I didn't want this fight or for anyone to say anything about me not stepping up is ridiculous."
It may still be galling for some, but there's no question Gallen's helped shine a light on some of Australian boxing's rising stars. He's co-headlined shows with world title hope Tim Tsyzu and world formerly under-respected pair Jason and Andrew Moloney.
Liam Wilson featured in his most recent card, as did former lightweight world title challenger Luke Jackson. The April 21 card is expected to feature a similar line-up and Gallen isn't making any apologies.
"At the end of the day I've done more for Australian boxing than any of these blokes [calling me out]," Gallen said.
"You look at someone like Tim Tszyu who's embraced the opportunity to jump on a card with 5000 people watching him live, 30,000 at home. He gets to showcase his skills and now he's headlining events. As much as I was unhappy with what happened in the Barry Hall fight, the Moloney boys got to fight on that night and now they've gone overseas and fought.
"I'm here to fight the top fights people are interested in. That's how the Mark Hunt fight came about and now this fight. These blokes, so-called boxers, saying we don't respect the sport, they couldn't care less about the sport. They're all about one thing, the bottom line.
"That's all it is, they care about themselves and the money they've earned. It's what I care about too, I'm not really against having a crack at anyone if the bottom line's right, but I'm not shit-canning anyone along the way."
For his part, Brown doesn't entirely disagree. While he's developed a following overseas, particularly in the UK where heavyweights are box office, he's been largely underappreciated outside the rusted on boxing scene in Australia.
Before Gallen duked it out with former AFL bad boy Barry Hall Browne said he'd fight both on the same night - for free. It was never to be taken literally but, at age 41 and having paid his dues, he makes no secret of the fact he's ready for his slice of the country's boxing pie.
"I realise why he is [the draw], it doesn't mean it's right," Browne, who'll collect his biggest Australian pay packet for the bout, said.
"It's just the unfortunate thig about Australian boxing. Before this my biggest payday in Australia was 25 grand. It shows you what boxers get and what footballers get. He's got a name, I understand that, and if he's going to get paid good on him. I just think boxers should get paid a little bit more as well.
"It's very much a money and politics game in boxing and I'll be perfectly honest, I don't think [another] world title's on the cards for me anymore just because I don't have the backing. In saying that anything can happen, look at Andy Ruiz and [Anthony] Joshua.
"You've always got to be ready but, at this point in time, I've got the [world] title, it's at home, everything's good. From my point of view I just want to make sure everything's good for after boxing as well. As long as I put in a good showing and get some good paydays that's all that really matters at the moment."