On June 11, 1982, Holmes defended his title against Gerry Cooney, the undefeated #1 contender and an Irish-American. The lead-up to the fight had many racial overtones. Holmes said that if Cooney wasn’t white, he would not be getting the same purse as the champion (both boxers received $10 million for the bout). Although Cooney tried to deflect questions about race, members of his camp wore shirts that said “Not the White Man, but the Right Man.” In their fight previews, Sports Illustrated and Time put Cooney on the cover, not Holmes….and President Ronald Reagan had a phone installed in Cooney’s dressing room so he could call him if he won the fight….as Holmes had no such arrangement….and last but not least….boxing tradition dictates that the champion is introduced last….but the challenger, Cooney, was introduced last. The bout was held in front of a 32,000-seat stadium erected in a Caesar’s Palace just for this fight inthe parking lot….with millions more watching around the world on ABC live television.
After an uneventful first round, Holmes dropped Cooney with a right in the second….as Cooney came back well in the next two rounds while jarring Holmes with his powerful left hook. Holmes later said that Cooney “hit me so damned hard, I felt it—boom—in my bones.” Cooney was tiring by the 9th round….in which he had two points deducted for low blows….then in the 10th. they traded punches relentlessly…. and at the end of the round….the two warriors nodded to each other in respect. Cooney lost anotherr point because of another low blow in the 11th….and by then, The Easton Assassin was landing blows with ease….when in the 13th, a barrage of punches sent Gentleman Gerry to the canvas….and as he got up, his trainer, Victor Valle, stepped into the ring and stopped the fight…..as after the fight, Holmes and Cooney became close friends.
In this video seen herewith, ABC’s Howard Cosell, who called the fight live….and hosted this in-studio review….took the entire fight and analyzed it round by round….breaking down the judges scoring for each round…..while conducting interviews with Holmes, Cooney, Mills Lane (the referree) and Duane Wood (a judge) to get their perspectives of each round and each significant blow.
Any way you slice this pie….this fight was an epic heavyweight championship title fight making this video is well worth the watch by any and all boxing fans….cuz it provides insight into a heavyweight boxing legend (Holmes)….the best Great White Hope boxer since Rocky Marciano (Cooney)….and a boxing broadcaster of the highest order (Cosell)….which makes this MUST SEE TV for any and all boxing fans.