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Gerry Cooney - The Survivor

Here are some outtakes from our interview with the former heavyweight contender in our April issue.

Gerry Cooney - The Survivor

In his own words:

I grew up in a rough Irish Catholic family. My father was a big drinker—a steel construction guy. My older brother left the house when he was 15 and he joined a boxing gym. So a couple of years later I followed him. I went to the gym where he trained and spent some time there with him and got to see him fight. So when I was 15 I started boxing too.

So, I’m working the heavy bag a lot, feeling pretty good about myself, when one day I get into the ring with this little Italian guy, and he knocks me from pillar to post. So I go home and think “I don’t want this,” and go back to hitting the heavy bag. But this time when I was hitting the bag I was thinking how in real life someone is going to throw punches back at me. Two months later, I asked to be set up with that kid again, and this time he couldn’t do what he did the first time. Six months after that I won the middleweight championships of the New York state Golden Gloves.

Before the Holmes match I had 25 fights with 23 knockouts. I never got tested. I never went the distance. I had great sparring, but it’s different when you’re in the ring. I would like to have seen a few more looks—more styles—before meeting Holmes, but Don King wouldn’t let it happen.

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