Which trainer could have better developed a Gerry Cooney in his prime?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Richard M Murrieta, Dec 25, 2020.

  1. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Was his management really that bad, though? Their approach got Cooney a massive payday and two title shots -- including one against a lightheavyweight holding the lineal title whom he should have been able to flatten on paper. If he'd beaten Spinks, he would have been had an enormously profitable unification fight with Tyson, and would've even been put on the roster of lineal champions (for IBHOF points, I guess.)

    Aside from his gap in fighting after Holmes beat him (presumably caused by depression), what could have been done better? He's not ever beating Holmes. He's also taking a risk if he fights a less-lucrative beltholder other than Holmes.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
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  2. Journeyman92

    Journeyman92 Resident Gadfly Full Member

    Sep 22, 2021
    You're on it. Cooney had great management behind him.
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  3. Journeyman92

    Journeyman92 Resident Gadfly Full Member

    Sep 22, 2021
    Trainer... Well Manny Steward has a good track record for bean pole fighters. I'd give him to Blackburn because he could do no evil and would be total profit for any fighter ever.
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  4. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    Angelo Dundee or Eddie Futch.
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  5. Pat M

    Pat M Active Member Full Member

    Jun 20, 2017
    From what I've read and seen about Cooney he seems to be mentally sharp and doing well financially today. Boxing worked for him better than it does for about 99.9% of fighters. Boxing is a business, if a fighter gets out of it with money and his health, IMO that's better than a fighter who wins a title but ends up financially and mentally wrecked. Valle did a good job with Cooney, Cooney was a sound fighter, his management also did well, they got him good fights. If the rumors are true about Cooney's lifestyle, he is the one who might have kept himself from reaching his full potential in the ring.
  6. Reinhardt

    Reinhardt Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Oct 4, 2016

    Totally agree, Steward made fighters better. Cooney's management concentrated on cautiously guiding him to a big money fight. I was never a big Valle fan as a trainer.
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  7. The Long Count

    The Long Count Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    Futch was brilliant. Cooney needed someone to tell him how to clinch and what to do when hurt. He had no clinching ability and his survival skills were poor. Otherwise they did decent job with him. He blew out big names that were past their best but did in spectacular fashion and he was competitive with prime Holmes for 13 rounds. Not too shabby. After that he got lost in alcohol and cocaine.
  8. SwarmingSlugger

    SwarmingSlugger Member Full Member

    Nov 27, 2010
    I agree his trainer wasnt the the prob his management used him. Outside of that Gil Clancy would be the best candidate IMO he could have brought Gerry along slower and definitely Clancy wouldnt have went along with Cooney being used. He also I think would have had Gerry develop his right hand. One would need a good right to defeat Holmes in his prime.
  9. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 23, 2019
    I completely agree.
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  10. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    Apparently Gerry Cooney approached D’Amato in the 70s but Cus didn’t have time for him so he referred him to victor Valle. Valle was a very good trainer. Perhaps there others who may have done the same or better with him but at the end of the day Gerry Cooney didn’t like boxing. It was something his father coaxed him in to doing. Cooney wasn’t a natural fighter. All in all he had a good career. Did great in the amateurs then went 28-3-0-24 in the pros and retired a millionaire with his health still in tact. I’d rather see him end that way then to end up like Riddick Bowe or worse
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  11. Barrf

    Barrf Active Member Full Member

    Sep 19, 2021
    What do you do with a fighter who has a great left hook and not much else? All in all, given his limitations, Cooney did alright in spite of his own bad habits (alcohol/drugs).

    I tend to think his limitations would have resulted in some losses along the way if he'd been brought along slowly, and in that case, he likely wouldn't have got the big money fight against Holmes.

    Honestly though, he got out of the sport with his health fully intact and financially set for life. That's better than most. Looking at it that way, his management did a fantastic job.
  12. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    There’s so many layers to Cooney’s career and I think the narrative is off.

    When he crushed Ken Norton, Norton was in the top 10 and had just beaten undefeated Tex Cobb. The narrative is that Norton was a walking corpse and that’s not how he was seen at the time. Kenny couldn’t handle punchers who could put him on the back foot and so he got crushed.

    Ron Lyle … yeah that was a joke. Had some name recognition still but was completely past it.

    Young’s only two losses in a 10-fight span were to Cooney and Michael Dokes. In that span he beat some useful guys (one-loss John L Gardner, who was being groomed for a voluntary title shot, one-loss Marvin Stinson, one-loss Jeff Sims, one-loss Wendell Bailey and undefeated Canadian champ Gord Racette, who wa seen as a rising prospect at that time). Not murderers row, but Jimmy was a viable spoiler. He also had only been stopped once, by Earnie Shavers in his 11th fight seven years prior. Everything about that opponent choice was right — expected to take Gerry the distance, a tricky veteran who could make him think, was in good shape and came to fight — only Young was busted open and stopped on a cut.

    At this point, Cooney is the No. 1 contender. If you’re managing the No. 1 contender, do you say ‘no, no, we need a few more years, don’t consider us for a title shot, my guy is still a prospect’? Your very JOB is to get him a chance to be champion. And they went after Mike Weaver and signed that fight, only for the WBA to pull the rug out from under Weaver and make him fight Quick Tillis instead.

    Let’s say you instead steer Cooney to fight two or three more contenders and he gets upset once or twice before fighting Holmes. What’s the guarantee that he learns enough in those fights to beat Holmes? Does every prospect who fights top guys end up being an ATG? Do they all win those fights? No, they don’t. So what if he makes $750K for losing to Holmes instead of $10M+ — you want to pat yourself on the back for ‘bringing him up right’ and today instead of being a millionaire with all of his faculties and a useful member of society he’s a bum on the streets?

    And let’s examine Cooney more closely — how many fights of his were canceled because of ‘injury’? He was supposed to fight Earnie Shavers on the night Shavers lost to Tex Cobb on the Hearns-Cuevas card, but Gerry pulled out with an injury. There were others.

    So you’ve got a fragile guy that you have trouble keeping in the ring because he keeps getting hurt in training — do you just never take the title shot because he keeps getting hurt and wait 5 years before he fights again if that’s what it takes? (Wasn’t even the Holmes fight postponed because of a training injury?)

    Oh, and there’s another, more sinister possibility — we know Gerry had major problems with drugs and alcohol. We don’t know exactly when this manifested itself. I think it’s ENTIRELY possible that many, most or even ALL of those ‘injury postponements’ were because Gerry was going missing on binges or showing up at the gym in no shape to train at all after a bender and his management actually took care of him by canceling fights they knew he couldn’t win because they couldn’t keep him clean.

    So Tyrell Biggs and Oliver McCall were abused by their managers, so the narrative goes, by being pushed into the ring for title fights while they were deep in their addiction. But if that was the case with Gerry, is the idea that his management should have done the same?

    Let’s also note that Gerry’s management was boxed in by Don King. They were not going to sign with King (see the results of guys who did and ended up broke and broken). And King had most of those contenders tied up. You can’t fight Greg Page by just whistling and saying ‘bring him on,’ you have to sign with King. Same for most of the others mentioned. Are they good managers if they let King put his claws in Cooney? LOL.

    Would you rather have had Cooney’s career in-ring or Tim Witherspoon’s? Tim was thrown in a title shot before he was fully prepared, then fighting top contenders after. He won a piece of a title and then lost it. Won a bunch of fights, lost a few. He never made $10M for a fight, probably never made $1M. Did his management do better by him than Gerry’s? Were they not ‘exploiting him’ the same way Cooney’s allegedly exploited him, only for less money?
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
  13. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    An excellent post.

    The forum does seem to be making two assumptions here that I'm not sure I agree with:

    1) That Cooney never reached his full potential. For example, that there was a version of Cooney who could have beaten Holmes. I don't know that this is true. As you say, not everyone is an ATG.

    2) That we know enough about the different training styles of mostly-now-deceased 1980s trainers to make an intelligent decision about who should have trained Cooney. I mean...maybe a couple of us know this, since there are a few people in the business. But how many of us are actually equipped to be able to assess how well Futch would've worked with Cooney compared to what Valle did? Have any of us ever trained with the 1980s incarnations of either man? Do we actually know how Valle was training Cooney behind closed doors? Or for that matter, how Futch would've operated back then? It's not like these guys created huge amounts of documentation, video recordings, and literature on how they trained guys. And even if we had that information, do we have the expertise to be able to second-guess Valle's training choices?
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  14. BoB Box

    BoB Box Member Full Member

    Jun 13, 2022
    Eddie Reynoso would excel his talents by showing him how to cycle peds and not get caught.
    In all seriousness though you already mentioned my top pick Emanuel Steward..
  15. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    Cooney needed a strong mental mentor type if anything. Someone to help him thru the huge hype and public attention and get him past a loss or losses. Someone to keep him even and on course. Someone to instill confidence and balance his boxing and personal life. Valle knew he had a drinking problem and was coming to training (for Holmes no less) with alcohol on his breath. He didn't bring him into line tho, or try directly. Post Holmes he just partied with celebs and didn't even answer the phone when his trainers called. Wasn't interested. Perhaps no-one could have kept him focused.
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