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Gerry Cooney - 1970s Heavyweights

Some referred to Gerry Cooney as the “Great White Hope” during the prime of his career. That’s because he expected to become world champion and unseat the defending champion, Larry Holmes. Cooney’s path to the championship was a brutal one for his opponents as he scored 24 knockouts in his 28 fights but the knock on his record is that he was beating fighters that were far past their prime. What earned him the title shot was the names he defeated in getting there. After scoring a TKO over 32-year-old Jimmy Young in four rounds, hard-hitting Ron Lyle was next on the docket only Lyle was 39 in 1980 when he stepped into the squared circle with Cooney. It ended badly with Lyle getting KOd in the first round. Next up was Ken Norton in 1981 and he was 38. In what resulted in an extremely violent knockout in just the first round, Larry Holmes said “bring it on” and the two met for the WBC title on June 11, 1982. Holmes was a bit younger at the time (33) and Cooney was just 26. But against the finesse boxer in Holmes who possessed one of the best jabs in history, Cooney was no match and lost by TKO in the 13th round after taking round-after-round of a beating. He was a walking punching bag. Cooney would try to come back from that with three straight wins before getting TKOd by Michael Spinks in another title attempt and then closed out his career getting smoked by George Foreman in just two rounds. But Cooney had size (6’6”). I met the man in an elevator and at 5’6” I felt like a little person.

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