Gerry Cooney

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Gerry Cooney
Devin Harjes & Gerry Cooney (6379758097).jpg
Cooney (right) in 2011
Statistics
Real nameGerald Arthur Cooney
Nickname(s)
  • Gentleman
  • Great White Hope
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
Reach81 in (206 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born (1956-08-04) August 4, 1956 (age 64)
Manhattan, New York City,
New York, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights31
Wins28
Wins by KO24
Losses3

Gerald Arthur Cooney [1] (born August 4, 1956) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 1990, and challenged twice for world heavyweight titles in 1982 and 1987 (for the WBC and linear version in 1982 and 1987, and for the lineal version only in 1987).

Contents

Early years

Born into a blue collar Irish-Catholic [2] family on Long Island, Cooney was encouraged to become a professional fighter by his father. His brother Tommy Cooney was also a boxer, and reached the finals of the New York Golden Gloves Sub-Novice Heavyweight division. Cooney's grandparents lived in Placentia, Newfoundland, in Canada. [3]

Amateur career

Fighting as an amateur, Gerry Cooney won international tournaments in England, Wales, and Scotland, as well as the New York Golden Gloves titles. He won two New York Golden Gloves Championships, the 1973 160-lb Sub-Novice Championship and the 1976 Heavyweight Open Championship. Cooney defeated Larry Derrick to win the 1973 160-lb Sub-Novice title, and Earlous Tripp to win the 1976 Heavyweight Open title. In 1975 he reached the finals of the 175-lb Open division, but was defeated by Johnny Davis.

Cooney trained at the Huntington Athletic Club in Long Island, New York, where his trainer was John Capobianco. His amateur record consisted of 55 wins and 3 losses.

When he turned professional, Cooney signed with co-managers Mike Jones and Dennis Rappaport. He was trained by Victor Valle. [4]

Professional career

Known for his big left-hook and his imposing size, the tall, lean Cooney had his first paid fight on February 15, 1977, beating Billy Jackson by a knockout in one round. Nine wins followed and Cooney gained attention as a future contender, although his opponents were carefully chosen. He moved up a weight class and fought future world cruiserweight champion S. T. Gordon in Las Vegas, winning by a fourth round disqualification. Cooney had 11 more wins, spanning 1978 and 1979. Among those he defeated were Charlie Polite, former US heavyweight champion Eddie Lopez, and Tom Prater. These were not rated contenders, however.

By 1980, Cooney was being featured on national television. Stepping up, he beat one-time title challengers Jimmy Young and Ron Lyle, both by 'knockouts.' The Young fight was stopped because of cuts sustained by Young. [5] By then Cooney was ranked number 1 by the WBC and eager for a match with champion Larry Holmes.

In 1981, he defeated former world heavyweight champion Ken Norton by a knockout just 54 seconds into the first round with a blisteringly powerful attack. [6] This broke the record set in 1948 by Lee Savold for the quickest knockout in a main event in Madison Square Garden. Since his management team was unwilling to risk losing a big future pay day with Holmes by having him face another viable fighter, Cooney did not fight for 13 months after defeating Norton. [7]

The following year, Holmes agreed to fight him with the fight held June 11, 1982. With a purse of ten million dollars for the challenger, it was the richest fight in boxing history to that time. The promotion of the fight took on racial overtones that were exaggerated by the promoters, something Cooney did not agree with. He believed that skill, not race, should determine if a boxer was good. However, if Cooney won, he would have become the first Caucasian world heavyweight champion since Swede Ingemar Johansson defeated Floyd Patterson 23 years earlier. Don King called Cooney "The Great White Hope." The bout, held June 11, 1982 drew attention worldwide, and Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney was one of the biggest closed-circuit/pay-per-view productions in history, broadcast to over 150 countries.

Cooney fought bravely after he was knocked down briefly in the second round. He was fined three points for repeated low blows. After 12 rounds, the more skillful and experienced Holmes finally wore him down. In round 13, Cooney's trainer Victor Valle stepped into the ring to save his fighter from further punishment. [8] Two of the three judges would have had Cooney ahead after the 12th round if it weren't for the point deductions. [9] Holmes and Cooney became friends after the fight, a relationship that endured for them. On December 14, 1982, Cooney fought Harold Rice, the heavyweight champion of Connecticut, in a four-round bout. No winner was declared, so Cooney told the crowd following the bout: "This is only an exhibition. I'm sorry if I disappointed anybody. I'm trying to work myself back in shape so I can knock out Larry Holmes. Everything is OK. I felt a little rusty, but that is normal. It has been a while. I felt good in front of the people." [10]

After a long layoff, Cooney fought in September, 1984, beating Phillip Brown by a 4th-round knockout in Anchorage, Alaska. [11] He fought once more that year and won, but personal problems kept him out of the ring. [12]

Although Cooney had only fought three official bouts in five years following his loss to Holmes, in 1987 he challenged former world heavyweight and world light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in a title bout. Cooney appeared past his prime and Spinks, boxing carefully with constant sharp counters, knocked him out in round 5. Cooney's last fight was in 1990. He was knocked out in a match-up of power-punching veterans in two rounds by former world champion George Foreman. Cooney did stagger Foreman in the first round, but he was over-matched, and Foreman knocked him out two minutes into the second round. [13]

The losses to Holmes, Spinks, and Foreman exposed Cooney's Achilles' heel: his inability to clinch and tie up his opponent when hurt. In the Foreman fight, he rose from a second-round knockdown and stood in the center of the ring as Foreman delivered the coup de grâce. [14]

Cooney compiled a professional record of 28 wins and 3 losses, with 24 knockouts. Not a single one of his fights ever went the distance in a 12 or 15-round match. He is ranked number 53 on The Ring 's list of "100 Greatest Punchers of All Time".

Boxing style

Cooney, who is naturally left-handed, used an orthodox stance like Oscar De La Hoya. This provided him with a powerful jab and a lethal left hook, but a comparatively weaker right, which he seldom used except in combinations. Most of his fights ended in quick knockouts; while this benefited him in the beginning of his career, it left him unprepared for his fight with Larry Holmes. [7] Despite his devastating punching power, Cooney's moderate stamina and lack of experience proved to be his downfall.

Cooney's left-hook is described as one of the most powerful punches in boxing history.

Cooney was known for not throwing punches at the head, aiming instead for his opponent's chest, ribs, or stomach. This made him vulnerable at times, the fight against Holmes being an example.

According to George Foreman, Gerry Cooney was one of the three hardest punchers he had faced in his career along with Ron Lyle and Cleveland Williams. [15]

Life after boxing

Cooney founded the Fighters' Initiative for Support and Training, an organization which helps retired boxers find jobs. He did not encourage the racist tilt of promotion of the Holmes vs. Cooney match and became good friends with his former rival Holmes in the years afterward. [16]

Cooney is deeply involved in J.A.B., the first union for boxers. He became a boxing promoter for title bouts featuring Roberto Durán, Héctor Camacho, and George Foreman. Cooney is a supporter with of the "Hands are not for hitting" program, which tries to prevent domestic violence. He guides young fighters in the gym. [17]

In June 2010, Cooney became the co-host of "Friday Night at the Fights" on SIRIUS XM Radio. [18] [19]

Cooney resides in Fanwood, New Jersey, with his wife Jennifer and two of their three children, Jackson and Sarah. His son Chris resides in New York.

Honors

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
31 fights28 wins3 losses
By knockout243
By decision30
By disqualification10
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
31Loss28–3 Flag of the United States.svg George Foreman KO2 (10), 1:57 Jan 15, 1990 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
30Loss28–2 Flag of the United States.svg Michael Spinks TKO5 (15), 2:51Jun 15, 1987 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.For The Ring heavyweight title
29Win28–1 Flag of the United States.svg Eddie GreggKO1 (10), 1:26May 31, 1986 Flag of the United States.svg Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, U.S.
28Win27–1 Flag of the United States.svg George ChaplinTKO2 (10), 2:50Dec 8, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
27Win26–1 Flag of the United States.svg Philipp BrownTKO4 (10), 2:37Sep 29, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
26Loss25–1 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Holmes TKO13 (15), 2:52 Jun 11, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.For WBC, and The Ring heavyweight title
25Win25–0 Flag of the United States.svg Ken Norton TKO1 (10), 0:54May 11, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
24Win24–0 Flag of the United States.svg Ron Lyle KO1 (10), 2:49Oct 24, 1980 Flag of the United States.svg Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Hempstead, New York, U.S.
23Win23–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jimmy Young TKO4 (10), 3:00May 25, 1980 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
22Win22–0 Flag of the United States.svg Leroy BooneTKO6 (10), 0:55Dec 14, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
21Win21–0 Flag of the United States.svg John Dino DenisTKO3 (10), 1:14Nov 9, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
20Win20–0 Flag of the United States.svg Malik DozierKO6 (10)Oct 9, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Long Island Arena, Commack, New York, U.S.
19Win19–0 Flag of the United States.svg Broderick MasonKO4 (10), 1:44Aug 22, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.
18Win18–0 Flag of the United States.svg Tom PraterTKO2 (10), 2:13Jun 29, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.
17Win17–0 Flag of the United States.svg Charlie JohnsonKO1 (10), 1:51Feb 26, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.
16Win16–0 Flag of the United States.svg Eddie Lopez UD8Jan 13, 1979 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
15Win15–0 Flag of the United States.svg Grady DanielsRTD5 (8)Dec 15, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.
14Win14–0 Flag of the United States.svg Sam McGillUD8Nov 1, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York, U.S.
13Win13–0 Flag of the United States.svg Charley PoliteKO4 (8)Oct 4, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York, U.S.
12Win12–0 Flag of the United States.svg G. G. MaldonadoTKO8 (8), 2:56Jun 22, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
11Win11–0 Flag of the United States.svg S. T. Gordon DQ4 (10), 1:34Mar 17, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.Gordon disqualified for repeated holding
10Win10–0 Flag of the United States.svg Gary BatesKO4 (6)Feb 11, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
9Win9–0 Flag of the United States.svg Austin JohnsonKO1 (6), 1:23Jan 27, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, New York, U.S.
8Win8–0 Flag of the United States.svg Terry Lee KiddKO1 (6)Jan 14, 1978 Flag of the United States.svg Colonie Hill, Hauppauge, New York, U.S.
7Win7–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jimmie SykesKO1 (6)Dec 21, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Roll-O Rama, New York City, New York, U.S.
6Win6–0 Flag of the United States.svg Quinnie LocklearKO1 (6), 1:51Nov 30, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York, U.S.
5Win5–0 Flag of the United States.svg Joe MayeKO4 (6), 2:15Nov 18, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
4Win4–0 Flag of the United States.svg Matt RobinsonPTS4Aug 3, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
3Win3–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jose RosarioKO2 (6), 2:10Mar 20, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
2Win2–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jimmy RobertsonKO2 (6), 1:58Mar 2, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
1Win1–0 Flag of the United States.svg Bill JacksonKO1 (6), 1:32Feb 15, 1977 Flag of the United States.svg Sunnyside Garden Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.

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References

  1. "Cooney Has Bright New Visions Says Bad times Behind Him as He Gears up to Fight Spinks". The Washington Post . Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  2. Gerry Cooney (1956-08-04). "Gerry Cooney Quotes". BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  3. Wadden, Marie. "Gerry Cooney and his tough family legacy in Placentia". CBC News. CBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  4. SIVAULT 06/02/1980, New York Daily News Archives, SIVAULT 04/19/1982, New York Daily News Archives
  5. Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney vs. Jimmy Young: VHS Classic Rewind", May 25, 2012
  6. Boxing 101,"Gerry Cooney vs. Ken Norton: VHS Classic Rewind", May 31, 2012
  7. 1 2 Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney, Still A Gentleman 30 Years Later: Part One - The Championship Fight", April 30, 2012
  8. "Larry Holmes Vs Gerry Cooney: VHS Classic Rewind | Boxing 101 | Sports Media 101". Worldboxing101.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  9. Holmes, Larry (1998). Against the odds . St. Martin's Press. ISBN   9780312187361.
  10. Boxing: Cooney rusty in exhibition match, Lowell Sun, December 15, 1982, p. 56.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2009-10-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney, Still A Gentleman 30 Years Later: Part Two - Life After Boxing", May 1, 2012,
  13. Gentleman Gerry: A Contender in the Ring, a Champion in Recovery
  14. Video on YouTube
  15. "George Foreman On Tyson & Hardest Punchers". YouTube. 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  16. "Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney: Foes for a Night, Friends for a Lifetime | Boxing 101 | Sports Media 101". Worldboxing101.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-27. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  17. Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney, Still A Gentleman 30 Years Later: Part Four - The Future of Boxing", May 3, 2012
  18. Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney, Still A Gentleman 30 Years Later: Part Two - Life After Boxing", May 1, 2012
  19. Boxing 101, "Gerry Cooney, Still A Gentleman 30 Years Later: Part Three - Boxing Today", May 2, 2012