Cooper can have half my pay packet: Sonny Bill Williams
TALK might be cheap, but in the case of Sonny Bill Williams, it could cost him half his 2013 salary with the Sydney Roosters.
Williams fronted a press conference in Brisbane with manager Khoder Nassar and good mate Quade Cooper, the former Canterbury Bulldogs star saying he would fight 44-year-old South African heavyweight Francois Botha at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on February 8.
Cooper, who will be forced out of rugby union in Australia if he doesn't re-sign a contract with the ARU, said he would fight on the Williams undercard as a cruiserweight against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
After that, Cooper could well look to sign with a European rugby club, although Williams said he would love to see his mate playing in the NRL.
"I've got no doubt he's got the ability to succeed in the 13-man game," Williams said.
"I'd go as far as to say I'd give him half my pay-packet to lure him across. That's not just words, I'd really do that. He'd be great not just for our game, but for our club as well."
Cooper said his preference would be to play for the Queensland Reds, but admitted that was unlikely given he must sign with the ARU for that to happen.
"Rugby's the game I love," he said.
"My desire for rugby will never fade, it's something that I very much love, but it's kind of out of my hands at the moment.
"My desire to play for the Reds is there, but ... people in higher places are holding the cards.
"All I have in front of me is the offer that I was given, and that offer is one that I already said I won't accept, and I haven't accepted."
Khoder Nassar, the man who manages both Cooper and Williams, said the prospect of the Wallabies fly-half returning to the ARU fold seemed a longshot.
"I think the ARU has made their point, and let that be known," Nasser said.
"The way they value Quade, it gives Quade no choice. From my end, and I can speak as a free person, there's a total communication breakdown."
Cooper did some rehab at Reds training yesterday after returning from a two-week holiday.
He said he had received great support from teammates and officials, but was focused on getting his body right for his debut in the ring.
"The only thing that's set in stone right now is to fight in the undercard for Sonny," Cooper said.
Williams said the fight against Botha would be a WBA international bout, one that he was taking very seriously considering the big South African had proven competitive against the likes of Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Axel Schulz, Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko.