Cooper, Flintoff Making Headlines With Boxing Moves

Andrew Flintoff may be wrestling his demons ahead of his professional debut this weekend but Quade Cooper has no doubt he can be a boxing hit.

The thought still worries Andrew Flintoff.

And it would be enough to send shudders down James Cracknell's spine.

But Quade Cooper reckons he already knows the answer to the question that nags any high-profile sportsman who takes up boxing - can he take a punch?

Eyebrows - along with safety concerns - were raised when Cooper confirmed he would make his professional debut on the undercard of another boxing convert, good friend Sonny Bill Williams, in Brisbane on February 8.

The controversial Queensland Reds five-eighth - in rugby limbo due to stalled ARU talks - has copped a few on the chin from critics over the years.

And now Cooper claims he has footage to prove he can do the same in boxing - but he doesn't appear anywhere near a ring.

The budding cruiserweight points to video of him wearing a big right jab from hulking Brumbies prop Salesi Ma'afu during a Super Rugby altercation in March, 2011.

"He gave me one when I wasn't looking. He's a big bopper and I got up from that," Cooper said.

However, the likes of Flintoff and Cracknell are living proof that wearing one while in the ring is very different.

Former England cricket captain Flintoff makes his professional debut on Saturday (AEST) and admits he still fears being punched despite months of training.

"All the stuff you do in the doesn't really get you ready for trying to take a punch," Flintoff told Sky Sports.

Just ask Cracknell.

The double Olympic rowing gold medallist was knocked out cold in the first round of his boxing debut five years ago - and critics fear the same fate awaits Flintoff.

"Giving Flintoff a professional licence with no experience of boxing is a joke," leading English fight promoter Frank Maloney said.

"It gives our sport a bad name."

However, Cooper reckons his nimble footwork that appears in so many Super Rugby showreels will ensure he is a hit in boxing.

"I found it helped me when sparring, the way I could evade punches," Cooper said.

"But boxing has a lot to do with hard work and desire.

"You can't hide anywhere.

"I am a bit nervous but excited at the same time."

Of course, it may all become a moot point.

Revived ARU talks will all but ensure his fight set eight days before the Reds' season opener against the ACT will be abandoned.

And if it isn't, Cooper faces a smooth transition into boxing judging by his manager Khoder Nasser's track record with fellow star charge Williams.

Williams made his boxing debut in Brisbane three years ago against fellow Kiwi Gary Gurr who lived up to his nickname `The Baboon' by trashing a pre-fight press conference before making a monkey of himself in their fight.

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