Gerry Cooney (Born August 4, 1956) was a boxer from Huntington, New York best known for his devastating left hook to the body, which is considered by many to be the best left hook in boxing history, rivaled by Joe Frazier. He is also considered to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, being placed over fighters such as Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, and even George Foreman and is considered by many of his opponents to hit as hard or even harder than Earnie Shavers, the hardest hitter in boxing history, which usually places Gerry Cooney anywhere from #1-#3 on the list of hardest hitters in boxing history!
As an amateur, he won international tournaments in England, Wales and Scotland as well as a New York Golden Gloves title. His record consisted of 55 wins and 3 losses. When he turned professional, he signed with managers Jim Jacobs and Dennis Rapporport].
Cooney's first paid fight came on February 15, 1977, when he beat Billy Jackson by a knockout in one round in New York. Nine more wins followed and Cooney started gaining fame as a future contender. Then he stepped up in class and fought future world cruiserweight champion ST Gordon in Las Vegas, winning by a fourth round disqualification. Cooney's star kept on rising with 11 more wins in a row, spanning 1978 and 1979. Among the people he beat were former George Foreman victim Charlie Polite, former United States heavyweight champion Eddie Lopez, and Tom Prater.
By 1980, Cooney was already being featured on national television. He beat title challengers Jimmy Young and Ron Lyle, both by knockout. By this time, he was ranked number 1 in the WBC and challenging Larry Holmes to a fight.
In 1981, he completely annihilated former world heavyweight champion Ken Norton by a knockout 54 seconds into the first round in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd and HBO cameras.
Then 1982 came and Cooney's life changed. Holmes agreed to fight him, with a purse of ten million dollars for the challenger, making it the richest fight in boxing history up to that time. The promotion of the fight took on racial overtones, which Cooney may not have wanted. If Cooney won, he would be the first white world heavyweight champion in 23 years. Don King played this up by calling him "The Great White Hope." In this circus atmosphere, the upcoming fight drew huge attention worldwide. Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney was one of the biggest closed-circuit/pay-per-view productions in history, broadcast to over 150 countries.
Cooney lost the fight by a technical knockout in the 13th round. He took a year off, intending to return in late 1983, but he was cut in sparring and had to lay off for another year.
In September of 1984 he finally stepped into the ring again, beating Phillip Brown by a knockout in 4 rounds in New Orleans. He fought one more time and won, but personal problems took him away from the ring again.
In 1987, he made a one-fight comeback to meet former world heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, losing by a knockout in five rounds. Cooney's last fight was in 1990; he was blown away in two rounds by the former world champion George Foreman. Overall, Cooney compiled a professional record of 28 wins and 3 losses, with 25 knockouts.
Cooney then started the FIST Foundation, an organization which has helped retired boxers of all races find jobs. He has always tried to distance himself from the racism of the Holmes vs. Cooney promotion. In fact, he and Holmes have become very good friends over the years.
Cooney also enjoys signing autographs for the people who remember him.
He now resides in Fanwood, New Jersey