Queenslanders ridicule Paul Gallen's punching power after he failed to dent Nate Myles' chin during a fiery series opener in Sydney this year.
However, four-time world champion boxer Danny Green believes the New South Wales enforcer has a future inside the ring.
Gallen's inability to rock Myles was a feature of the Blues' inability to prevent Queensland securing an eighth consecutive interstate crown.
Nevertheless, the Cronulla and NSW captain is rolling with the punches as he prepares for a second appearance at the annual "Fight for Life" charity promotion in Auckland on Saturday.
The 32-year-old beat former All Black hooker Hika Elliot last year shortly after recovering from groin surgery. Perhaps ominously for Liam Messam, Gallen has rated himself fighting fit for their clash on the undercard for Shane Cameron's WBO Oriental Heavyweight title fight with American Brian Minto.
Gallen's preparations are certainly more focused than 12 months ago after revelations he spent time in Perth with Green after the Sharks were eliminated from the NRL finals series in September.
"He said I've got a little bit of ability," Gallen told Sky Sports Radio. "I said, 'just let me get through the World Cup and this charity fight'.
"I'll get through this this weekend and see how I go. But if someone like that thinks I've got any sort of ability I might pursue it next year. We'll just wait and see."
Green was impressed with Gallen's desire to learn and said there was no doubt about his competitiveness.
"He's a competitive bloke and is very driven. He asked for a few training sessions and I realised [in the gym] that he picks things up very quickly, which is good," Green told Fairfax Media.
"There's no questioning his toughness, he's proven on the footy field hundreds of times that he's a tough bastard. I respect the fact he's well aware boxing is a completely different entity [to rugby league] because of its one-on-one nature.
"I just showed him some in-close fighting techniques – being a shorter guy he'd come up against taller guys in that [heavyweight] division. I showed him some inside stuff; brawling and rocking and rolling in close there.
"The truth is he's very raw. He's a real bull and has a lot of force but he needs to try and work on technique.
"Just a few little things would turn him into a puncher rather than a rugby league player throwing a punch.
"Gal is craving to learn more and once he learns the art of punching, his power will be even more evident. Take it from me, the big fella can whack."
While it was premature to suggest Gallen would attempt to follow the lead of Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper to box professionally, Green said he was open to helping achieve that goal.
"We'd [Green Machine Promotions] love to go forward together if he wants to. If he thinks he has a future in the sport we'd love to be there with him."
Since returning from the World Cup Gallen has been training at former Australian world champion Kostya Tszyu's gym in Sydney.
He also managed some pad work during the Kangaroos' triumphant campaign with Queensland and Brisbane Broncos forward Sam Thaiday, who makes his boxing debut against Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna.
- © Fairfax NZ News