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Thread: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

  1. #1
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    Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Gerry Cooney had only 25 pro fights under his belt when he was matched against Larry Holmes. As a pro, he had answered the bell for only 84 rounds and hadn't defeated a fighter of note who was in the prime of his career. By contrast, Larry Holmes, seven years older than Cooney at age 32, was an established pro making his 12th title defense.

    Ergo, would the bout have played out any differently if Cooney had been more seasoned? Just asking.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Good question, Arne. (Do you have Scandinavian roots by any chance?)

    He'd been in there with Jimmy Young. Even for just a few rounds, that is valuable experience.

    He had been exposed to different styles and passed the tests. I think he was as ready as he could be.

    Besides, Ali only had, what, 19 fights before becoming champion? Leon Spinks had seven?

    In Gerry's case, I think he just so happened to face a superior boxer while lacking the necessary 15 round experience.

    Had he become accustomed to going 15, it probably is a much more even fight if it takes place in 1986.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    I think Larry Holmes was one of history's best heavyweight champions. With that, I still think Holmes would have lost to Cooney had "Gentleman Gerry" been turned loose in his career. Unfortunately, his managers, known as the "Wacko Twins," held him back something awful. They knew what they had on their hands and knew they could steer Gerry into a title shot simply by keeping him unbeaten. He went into the Holmes fight desperately needing rounds. His previous fight had been a sub-one-minute performance against Kenny Norton over one year earlier. That was certainly no way to prepare for a great fighter like Holmes. Yet, despite the lack of rounds and experience, Cooney was still able to take Holmes deep and bring out the best of him.

    There was also the issue of Cooney's alcohol abuse. But that stuff I am saving for my book, "Glove Affair."

    -Randy G.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    No way that GC was supposed to be in that squared jungle at the time that he was there. He was rushed and pressured because of the stupid-arse "Rocky" movie. Toddler Radam remember that fiasco. The sickness of those times, even had the champ Holmes introduced first, instead of second as tradition calls for.

    I could not understand why GC was being fed to superbad Holmes as a "White hopelessness"

    That was a fight for the hope of the then "Old ol' boy Club," not GC. He was used as a Tar baby -- thrown into a fate of hope of repressive powers gunning to make things as they were or bring in a new-coming world order.

    Illuminati stuff. Holla!

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    I remember being at an open workout for Cooney at Caesars Palace prior to the Holmes fight. One of those twins was Dennis Rappaport. Dennis took the mic, and started 'tic tic tic...tic tic tic.' He explained how that was the sound of a clock and when they measured Gerry several weeks earlier, he was 6' 5", and a short time later they measured him and he was 6'6". He went on about how he's still growing and only god knows how tall he'd be on fight night. Not seeing how that was relevant to reality and skillsets, when it was time for questions I brought out points about Cooney's last three opponents and how could he really feel he was ready for Holmes at that time?

    Dennis looks at me, slight pause, and says 'next question'.

    But to answer the question, yes, management botched the Cooney situation. Gerry was anywhere from three to five fights and a real trainer away from being heavyweight champion. If memory serves correctly, Victor Valle was his trainer at the time. And while I know Victor had some disciples, I know of at least one detractor.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Many years ago, likely 1983, I had the privilege of a long leisurely dinner with the late, great trainer Eddie Futch -- just the two of us. One of the questions that I posed to Eddie concerned Gerry Cooney. At the mention of his name, Futch's eyes lit up and he said "I wish I'd had him." The way that he said it told me two things: he wasn't referring to Cooney's marketability and he wasn't patronizing the white guy across the table from him (me). Eddie saw flaws in Cooney that he thought he could have corrected.

    Futch was well-qualified to give an assessment. He and the old master Ray Arcel had trained Holmes for the Cooney fight. Cooney had two more important fights after my dinner with Futch and was destroyed in both, by Michael Spinks and then -- after a long layoff -- by George Foreman. So perhaps not even Futch could have melded him into a champion. We'll never know.

    One thing we know for certain is that if Cooney had won the title, he would have lifted boxing to heights not seen since the heyday of Jack Dempsey. The outdoors arena at Caesars Palace was too small to accommodate Holmes-Cooney. It was expanded by seven thousand seats to 32,000. According to the New York Times, the closed-circuit telecast at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey drew 52,974 paid!

    Yes, there was undeniably an ugly undercurrent of racism, but Cooney's popularity owed to more than his pigmentation. He had the "it" factor. The camera liked him and he came across as the sort of down-to-earth fellow that would make a good neighbor.

    Regarding the Shadow's contribution to this thread...yes, many boxers had less experience than Cooney before they were thrust into a title fight. But many of these individuals -- including the two that you mention -- had international amateur experience. A fellow who competes against Cubans and Eastern Europeans at the amateur level is far more ready for a big fight than a fellow who does it the old- fashioned way, climbing the ladder in 4-, 6-, and 8-round bouts. As for your question, I'm U.S. born, specifically Brooklyn, and yes my roots are Scandinavian (Danish).

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Quote Originally Posted by ArneK. View Post
    Many years ago, likely 1983, I had the privilege of a long leisurely dinner with the late, great trainer Eddie Futch -- just the two of us. One of the questions that I posed to Eddie concerned Gerry Cooney. At the mention of his name, Futch's eyes lit up and he said "I wish I'd had him." The way that he said it told me two things: he wasn't referring to Cooney's marketability and he wasn't patronizing the white guy across the table from him (me). Eddie saw flaws in Cooney that he thought he could have corrected.

    Futch was well-qualified to give an assessment. He and the old master Ray Arcel had trained Holmes for the Cooney fight. Cooney had two more important fights after my dinner with Futch and was destroyed in both, by Michael Spinks and then -- after a long layoff -- by George Foreman. So perhaps not even Futch could have melded him into a champion. We'll never know.

    One thing we know for certain is that if Cooney had won the title, he would have lifted boxing to heights not seen since the heyday of Jack Dempsey. The outdoors arena at Caesars Palace was too small to accommodate Holmes-Cooney. It was expanded by seven thousand seats to 32,000. According to the New York Times, the closed-circuit telecast at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey drew 52,974 paid!

    Yes, there was undeniably an ugly undercurrent of racism, but Cooney's popularity owed to more than his pigmentation. He had the "it" factor. The camera liked him and he came across as the sort of down-to-earth fellow that would make a good neighbor.

    Regarding the Shadow's contribution to this thread...yes, many boxers had less experience than Cooney before they were thrust into a title fight. But many of these individuals -- including the two that you mention -- had international amateur experience. A fellow who competes against Cubans and Eastern Europeans at the amateur level is far more ready for a big fight than a fellow who does it the old- fashioned way, climbing the ladder in 4-, 6-, and 8-round bouts. As for your question, I'm U.S. born, specifically Brooklyn, and yes my roots are Scandinavian (Danish).
    Arne, thank you. Great input. One of the many things I look at is how a fighter is changed by their first official loss. Also their first true loss. And even bigger, if they were legitimately losing, what did they do to try to rescue their undefeated record while there was still time to. I believe no one has ever attempted any research in this area and it might be applicable to other sports as well. Not as much probably, because if you lose in tennis, then the opponent beat your skills. In boxing (& MMA) the opponent beat YOU, your very being!

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    DDV--I remember those days of the "Wacko Twins" very well. As aLongIslander, I covered both of their Long Island contenders--Gerry Cooney & Howard Davis Jr.

    "Maximize profit and minimize risk," is what one of the "Wacko Twins"--Dennis Rappaport--would consistently preach. As for Victor Valle, Cooney's trainer, he had been a lightweight contender in an around WWII. He had trained a few of Rappaport's other fighters, and both Rappaport and his partner--Mike Jones--thought highly of Valle's training ability. However, I wasn't among the Valle rooters. I wanted to see Long Island localite Gil Clancy or Eddie Futch train Cooney.

    As Arne related a few posts back, Futch thought very highly of Cooney and believed, to his dying day, that Cooney could have--and should have--been heavyweight champion. But the "Wacko Twins" were so enamored with Valle, that they drilled it into their young heavywweight that Valle was the most underrated trainer in boxing and the best possible man to hone and sharpen his skills. Such was not the case. Combined with the "Wacko Twins'" blueprint for a march to the title was Valle's holding Cooney back and rejecting many possible opponents. The worst thing they collectively did was allow him to sit on the sidelines after destroying Ken Norton in under one minute, then allowing him to go straight from that fight into a 15-rounder over a year later against one of history's best heavyweight champions, Larry Holmes.

    "I just wasn't ready," says Cooney of his title shot against Holmes. "But I was just the fighter. My managers and my trainer, all of whom I trusted, told me this is how it was going to be. They told me I would be fighting for the most money ever paid to a title challenger, and that I should stick to the fighting and let them doing everything else. I did. I shouldn't have."

    Yes, I remember those days of "Tic, tic, tic" and "Next question" very well. The "Wackos" comvinced Cooney that tthose in the media were his enemies and detractors. He disliked me for the longest time. Now, ironically, we have a much different place in each other's life.

    In 2009, Cooney and I were teamed as broadcast partners on the two shows per week we host on SiriusXM Radio. Since that time, we have become best friends. He and his lovely wife, Jennifer, came to my youngest daughter's wedding. Cooney has told me many stories about his career, including his bout against alcoholism, which he hid so well from the boxing world. It is some of these stories I will be detailing in my book, "Glove Affair."

    Gerry Cooney knows what he could have been and what he was. He and Larry Holmes are almost inseparable. Cooney has no regrest about the past, but rather, excitement for his future.

    I love Mondays and Fridays. Those are the days I get to sit in the biggest, most gorgeous radio studios in the world with my big buddy and talk two hours of boxing to a multitude of listeners.

    I watch in amazement as traffic gets snarled when we cross the street because drivers recognize Cooney and jump out of their cars to shake his hand...to get an autograph...to take his picture.

    As for charity work, Cooney does more in a month than most of us do in a lifetime.

    He did not become a world champion in the boxing ring, but, in every other way, Gerry Cooney is a champion extraordinaire.

    -Randy G.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Quote Originally Posted by The Commish View Post
    DDV--I remember those days of the "Wacko Twins" very well. As aLongIslander, I covered both of their Long Island contenders--Gerry Cooney & Howard Davis Jr.

    "Maximize profit and minimize risk," is what one of the "Wacko Twins"--Dennis Rappaport--would consistently preach. As for Victor Valle, Cooney's trainer, he had been a lightweight contender in an around WWII. He had trained a few of Rappaport's other fighters, and both Rappaport and his partner--Mike Jones--thought highly of Valle's training ability. However, I wasn't among the Valle rooters. I wanted to see Long Island localite Gil Clancy or Eddie Futch train Cooney.

    As Arne related a few posts back, Futch thought very highly of Cooney and believed, to his dying day, that Cooney could have--and should have--been heavyweight champion. But the "Wacko Twins" were so enamored with Valle, that they drilled it into their young heavywweight that Valle was the most underrated trainer in boxing and the best possible man to hone and sharpen his skills. Such was not the case. Combined with the "Wacko Twins'" blueprint for a march to the title was Valle's holding Cooney back and rejecting many possible opponents. The worst thing they collectively did was allow him to sit on the sidelines after destroying Ken Norton in under one minute, then allowing him to go straight from that fight into a 15-rounder over a year later against one of history's best heavyweight champions, Larry Holmes.

    "I just wasn't ready," says Cooney of his title shot against Holmes. "But I was just the fighter. My managers and my trainer, all of whom I trusted, told me this is how it was going to be. They told me I would be fighting for the most money ever paid to a title challenger, and that I should stick to the fighting and let them doing everything else. I did. I shouldn't have."

    Yes, I remember those days of "Tic, tic, tic" and "Next question" very well. The "Wackos" comvinced Cooney that tthose in the media were his enemies and detractors. He disliked me for the longest time. Now, ironically, we have a much different place in each other's life.

    In 2009, Cooney and I were teamed as broadcast partners on the two shows per week we host on SiriusXM Radio. Since that time, we have become best friends. He and his lovely wife, Jennifer, came to my youngest daughter's wedding. Cooney has told me many stories about his career, including his bout against alcoholism, which he hid so well from the boxing world. It is some of these stories I will be detailing in my book, "Glove Affair."

    Gerry Cooney knows what he could have been and what he was. He and Larry Holmes are almost inseparable. Cooney has no regrest about the past, but rather, excitement for his future.

    I love Mondays and Fridays. Those are the days I get to sit in the biggest, most gorgeous radio studios in the world with my big buddy and talk two hours of boxing to a multitude of listeners.

    I watch in amazement as traffic gets snarled when we cross the street because drivers recognize Cooney and jump out of their cars to shake his hand...to get an autograph...to take his picture.

    As for charity work, Cooney does more in a month than most of us do in a lifetime.

    He did not become a world champion in the boxing ring, but, in every other way, Gerry Cooney is a champion extraordinaire.

    -Randy G.
    Growing up in Long Island , as an Irish Catholic , how could I have not loved Cooney. My family was envolved in politics and finance on both sides . Both of my grandpa's argued all the time against each other . If you brought up Gerry Cooney both their eyes lit up and they acted like best friends talking about him .When my mom learned that I was entering the golden gloves she ran to grandpa to talk me out of it, not only did he not talk me out of it but he encouraged it and said to box like Cooney. Later on I watched his bouts in the gloves on the computer and he looked a bit like tommy hearns in there . Tall and skinny with a dynamite right. Long Island will always love Cooney.

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    Re: Regarding Gerry Cooney: Would the outcome of his fight with Larry Holmes been different if ......??

    Quote Originally Posted by dino da vinci View Post
    I remember being at an open workout for Cooney at Caesars Palace prior to the Holmes fight. One of those twins was Dennis Rappaport. Dennis took the mic, and started 'tic tic tic...tic tic tic.' He explained how that was the sound of a clock and when they measured Gerry several weeks earlier, he was 6' 5", and a short time later they measured him and he was 6'6". He went on about how he's still growing and only god knows how tall he'd be on fight night. Not seeing how that was relevant to reality and skillsets, when it was time for questions I brought out points about Cooney's last three opponents and how could he really feel he was ready for Holmes at that time?

    Dennis looks at me, slight pause, and says 'next question'.

    But to answer the question, yes, management botched the Cooney situation. Gerry was anywhere from three to five fights and a real trainer away from being heavyweight champion. If memory serves correctly, Victor Valle was his trainer at the time. And while I know Victor had some disciples, I know of at least one detractor.
    Yeah, Big Gerry was rushed along, they went for the big bucks a little too soon, Holmes was a tough professional who paid his dues. I also had the impression
    that Big Gerry was just too nice of a guy for the dirty boxing game, he didn't have that mean streak that makes a champ, and his self confidence was destroyed
    in the Holmes fight. We hope Gerry's doing well, he did the best he could in boxing under the circumstances and should have no regrets.

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