Could Gerry Cooney’s Comeback Have Been Successful?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Charles White, May 9, 2022.

  1. steve1990

    steve1990 Active Member Full Member

    1,055
    772
    Jul 7, 2012
    He also had years of ring rust and inactivity.
     
  2. Charles White

    Charles White Chucker Full Member

    7,657
    451
    Sep 13, 2008
    He sure did, which is why I was inquiring about how he would do if he had taken his time coming back, gradually stepping up his competition level.
     
    steve1990 likes this.
  3. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    41,287
    22,167
    Apr 27, 2005
    I don't know, he got in excess of $2.5mil + for Spinks, $300k for 86 seconds work against Eddie Gregg, $1mil + for Foreman. I'm sure he got a few hundred thousand more for Chaplin and Brown so you could say post Holmes he made more than $4mil for 5 fights with three of them against easy beats. That's decent whippy.
     
  4. Entaowed

    Entaowed Boxing Addict Full Member

    5,190
    2,623
    Dec 16, 2012
    It was much more relative to inflation.
    But if he had more potential, it likely hurt both his career & earning potential not to take lesser fights.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  5. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    41,287
    22,167
    Apr 27, 2005
    It's the same as he rolled first segment. Extremely low risk then take the big money which was made possible three times because of hype.

    I don't think he was ever going to be stable or dedicated enough to take the proper route and the chance was that he might lose doing that. We know how losses affected him.

    It's entirely possible that his career worked out perfectly money wise the way it panned out.
     
    Entaowed likes this.
  6. Jake Speed

    Jake Speed New Member Full Member

    83
    56
    Jun 25, 2015
    I have The Ring and KO issues which preview the Foreman-Cooney fight. The boxing writers and commentators (Steve Farhood, Randy Gordon etc) seemed to think that Cooney would win by knockout. Larry Holmes also tipped Cooney to win. The feeling at the time was that Foreman was very slow and easy to hit (look at how easily and often Dwight Qawi hit him) but had never faced anyone who could punch during his comeback. The general theory of many boxing writers then was that Cooney should be able to land some big punches on Foreman early (Foreman was a notoriously slow starter) and do enough damage to get him out of there. Old Foreman turned out to have a great chin though and - aside from one slight wobble - managed to shrug off the punches Cooney was able to land.

    Though the fight was generally ridiculed beforehand, the chilling accuracy and power of Foreman's punching in knocking out Cooney made people take him more seriously and gave him a degree of (much needed) credibility. I gather that Cooney previously co-promoted some of Foreman's early comeback fights so you can only presume that he must have been unimpressed by what he saw from ringside. Cooney did genuinely seem to believe he was going to beat Foreman. In one preview I read, Cooney says he would like to have a rematch against Michael Spinks after Foreman. At the time there was some speculation that Spinks might make a comeback and so people were talking about a Spinks-Holyfield fight (this was stoked up by Butch Lewis, who called Spinks v Holyfield a 'big fight' and seemed to hint that it might happen). Michael Spinks was obviously sensible enough in the end though to stay happily retired.

    Anyway, I think one salient reason why writers seemed to lean towards Cooney in the Foreman fight is that he'd left his old team and was now being trained by Gil Clancy. Clancy worked Cooney hard in camp and people were probably expecting Cooney to be new and improved. Cooney was also nearly ten years younger than Foreman and so despite being 33 he was by far the younger man in the fight. Al Bernstein said that Gil Clancy was telling everyone he knew to bet on Cooney because he was 100% convinced that Cooney would beat Foreman. Clancy later said that they spent a month in camp teaching Cooney how to use his right hand but during the actual fight (much to Clancy's dismay) Cooney never threw the right hand in the way he'd been taught.

    Cooney got a million dollars for the fight by the way. It's definitely a strange fight. Cooney actually looks quite sharp in the first round but he also seems strangely weak and gaunt in comparison to the early 80s Cooney. As soon as Foreman started to get his timing and land some punches, Cooney seemed to freeze and look completely bewildered. I suppose at some point Cooney must have deduced he'd made a big mistake taking the fight and that Old Foreman was a lot more formidable than he'd suspected. Even if he'd taken a different path and picked up some morale boosting wins against lower calibre opposition, 90s Cooney's lack of punch resistance eventually would have been a handicap against world class opposition. It's also hard to say how much stamina he had left by this stage.
     
  7. Charles White

    Charles White Chucker Full Member

    7,657
    451
    Sep 13, 2008
    Great post, very informative, thank you! Any details on Cooney’s training routine for the Foreman fight aside from working on the right hand? Would love to know his conditioning regiment as I don’t believe I recall Cooney putting on a great deal of weight, even during his extended layoff.

    As for the fight itself, I just recently read an interview with Gil Clancy and he stated that Cooney suffered from severe anxiety attacks and that he believes that he had one during the Foreman fight. I wish Cooney had gotten a good sports psychologist on the payroll.
     
  8. Jake Speed

    Jake Speed New Member Full Member

    83
    56
    Jun 25, 2015

    Yes, I think I read the Gil Clancy interview you are talking about. Very long and informative if I remember. I enjoy the Clancy/Ryan commentaries watching old fights on YouTube. Cooney's preparation for Foreman was mostly about movement and throwing more jabs. Foreman's last fight at the time saw him lumber to a ten round decision against Bigfoot Martin and Clancy felt that the way to beat Foreman was movement and to not let him get set. Cooney did this fairly well at first but it wasn't really something he was good at and he patently didn't have the concentration or energy to keep it going for very long. It didn't help either that Cooney was quite easy to hit.

    I think I read once (on this site maybe) that Cooney had a behind closed doors fight with sparring partner Wesley Watson in preparation for Foreman with no headgear. He also fought a televised exhibition with Watson to promote the Foreman bout. I think the anxiety thing was definitely an issue. Cooney's former manager Dennis Rappaport said something similar after the Michael Spinks fight. He said that Cooney looked so terrific in sparring for Spinks he thought the fight would be a complete mismatch but in the actual bout Cooney had no fluidity and seemed to freeze.

    Though he looked quite decent in the first round, Cooney sort of did the same thing (freeze) against Foreman as soon as Big George began to land a few punches. I'm not sure about Cooney's conditioning. He's clearly in decent shape and is more fluid than he was in the Spinks fight but he doesn't seem to have the big chest and shoulders of the old Cooney. Clancy believed that Cooney would be the bigger and stronger man in the fight but George simply overpowered him in the end.
     
  9. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

    11,682
    5,151
    Feb 26, 2009
    Cooney has to be the most overrated guy in boxing history. He had good power, but his commitment to boxing his easy losses to Foreman and Spinks, especially Spinks showed something. Spinks exposed him rather easily. A small heavyweight chopping him down. Excuses were not warranted, he should have done better.
     
  10. Charles White

    Charles White Chucker Full Member

    7,657
    451
    Sep 13, 2008


    Some awesome prefight buildup footage for the Foreman match.
     
  11. Turnip mk3

    Turnip mk3 Member Full Member

    384
    329
    Feb 6, 2021
    Could of comeback after Holmes if he had kept of the devils dandruff !! . A fight with Morrison in 90 would of been about money fight and probably more winnable than Foreman.
     
    Charles White likes this.
  12. Charles White

    Charles White Chucker Full Member

    7,657
    451
    Sep 13, 2008
    Lol! I have never heard that term before hahahaha. How do you see a Cooney vs Morrison bout going down in 90?
     
  13. Brixton Bomber

    Brixton Bomber Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    20,972
    5,282
    Sep 21, 2013
    How much did Cooney pick up?
     
  14. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    44,386
    10,797
    Jan 3, 2007
    In terms of money or wins ?
     
    Brixton Bomber likes this.
  15. Turnip mk3

    Turnip mk3 Member Full Member

    384
    329
    Feb 6, 2021
    Short and and violent. Toss a coin
     
    Charles White and Brixton Bomber like this.