It’s been coming for about a week now, but Quade Cooper has finally confirmed that he is now a boxer. And what does that mean for his future? About as much as it did before he confirmed he was a boxer.
Todays press conference announcing that Cooper will be fighting on the undercard of the Sonny Bill Williams February 8 fight has cleared up very little in the on-going Cooper saga. Here are the following sports that Quade Cooper may or may not commit to in the next 12 months.
Quade Cooper is not a boxer. That’s not to say that he couldn’t beat the shit out or me or many other people. He’ll have the footwork, the speed, and he’s already proven he can take a punch but the impact he could ever have on boxing will never be as great as the impact he’s had on the rugby field.
Cooper may fight well and he may continue to fight intermittently throughout his career, maybe with success, but there is little to indicate thus far that he is a genuine boxer.
Cooper is adamant that he wants to stay in rugby. While he has signed with the Queensland Reds for another 3 years, his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract expires on the 31st of December. In order to play with the Reds he must also have an ARU contract and Cooper is no chance of signing the meager incentive based deal on the table at the moment.
“At this stage I’ve sat down and had lengthy discussions with Jim Carmichael, he’s been working very hard with our chairman Rod McCall and our coach Ewen McKenzie to try and resolve the matter,” Cooper said.
“As of now, I’m still contracted until the end of December.
“I don’t really have an option to continue forward with rugby union at the moment.”
That doesn’t mean he’s lost to Union all together, or even to the Reds if the ARU offer a revised deal, but lucrative stints in Japan or France are still solid options. In terms of returning to the Wallabies, proving he is back to his pre-knee reconstruction best in the Top 14 in France would most likely renew much needed interest from the ARU. The sacking of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans would also do wonders for Coopers chances of returning to Australia.
Last year Cooper was all the rage within Rugby League recruiting circles. What a difference a dud World Cup and bung knee makes. A supposed defensive liability, Cooper is apparently unwanted by any club within the NRL.
But that hasn’t stopped an outpouring of bro-love from his partner in crime, Sonny Bill Williams.
“I have been one of his big supporters even before we joined up as a team and I have no doubt that he has got that ability to succeed in the 13-man game,” Williams said.
“I think there’s reports coming out that no-one wants him and I think that obviously they are playing the media game that they have to play but I have been there when clubs have rung up and enquired about his services.”
“I would probably go as far as to say that I, myself, would give him half my pay packet to lure him across and they’re not just words. I would really do that because I think he would be great not just for the game but great for our game as well. I definitely would.”
Did you hear that Sydney Roosters? Also watch closely on the Parramatta Eels/Israel Folau developments. Currently the club, with little room to accommodate a player of Folau’s stature, has proposed that they be given a $400 000 salary cap leeway for 2013 and then they would come in $400 000 under in 2014. Essentially they would be spending the same as every club over a two year period. If this precedent is set, expect legitimate NRL interest in Cooper to appear.
To be continued…
Picture by Chris Hyde/Getty Images