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Boxing – NABF Cruiserweight Title – Henry Tillman VS Bert Cooper


This NABF cruiserweight title fight between Champ Henry Tillman vs Bert Cooper was a huge action fight…..with both fighters throwing many bombs which when landed almost knocked the other down…..as at least 50% of the bout is fought on wobbly legs by both.  This video just shows rounds 2, 3, 7 and 12…..as this is a highlight video of the fight as covered by CBS boxing commentators Tim Ryan, Gil Clancy and Angelo Dundee.

Smokin’ Bert Cooper, is a heavyweight boxer most famous for his punching power and several wild brawls in the 1990’s….as Cooper came out of Philadelphia and was trained in his early years by ex-champ Smokin’ Joe Frazier…..rising in the rankings with a series of explosive knockouts in the cruiserweight division….and unable to get a world title shot despite winning the NABF belt and defeating Olympic gold medallist Henry Tillman in a 12 round split-decision….as seen in this video herewith…. then beating future world champion Tyrone Booze….so, he began boxing in the heavyweight division….knocking out Willie DeWitt in 2 rounds….but being stopped in 8 rounds by No. 1 ranked heavyweight contender Carl “The Truth” Williams…..followed by a 2nd round KO by George Foreman.  In 1990, having failed to secure a cruiserweight world title fight….Cooper moved to heavyweight permanently….by knocking out top 5-ranked Orlin Norris and claiming his NABF title. He lost the title in his first defense being outpointed over 12 rounds by undefeated Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer in an explosive brawl. Later the same year he was KO’d in 2 rounds by fast-rising Riddick Bowe…as his career looked over at this point….however he bounced back in 1991 by stopping Joe Hipp in 5 rounds….then he was matched on short notice with Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight championship after two opponents dropped out….as Cooper came off the floor in the first round to stun Holyfield in the 3rd round….with the two exchanging big blows before the referee Mills Lane stopped the fight in the 7th…..and although he lost, the fight made Cooper a big name and he would be matched in many high-profile fights over the next few years. In June 1992 he boxed undefeated Michael Moorer for the vacant WBO title….knocking Moorer down twice but also going down twice himself before being stopped in the 5th. Cooper’s career went downhill from this point, being outpointed by veteran Mike Weaver for an obscure title in China….then losing to prospects like Corrie Sanders, Chris Byrd, Fres Oquendo, and Joe Mesi. On June 18, 2010, Cooper at age 44, made a successful comeback after eight years out of the ring with a sixth round knockout of Corey Winfield in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Henry Durand Tillman is an American former boxer….who twice defeated Mike Tyson as an amateur in winning both bouts via close decisions. Tillman went on to win the heavyweight gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics against highly touted Canadian boxer Willie de Wit.  Tillman turned pro in 1984 as a cruiserweight….having had a disappointing professional career….primarily due to a weak chin. In 1986, he was knocked down twice and upset by Bert Cooper via a decision for the NABF cruiserweight title….however, in 1987 he was able to secure a shot at WBA cruiserweight title holder Evander Holyfield…..who dropped Tillman three times en route to a 7th round TKO. Tillman later lost to Willie DeWitt in a rematch of their 1984 Heavyweight Olympic final bout. In 1990, he took on Mike Tyson in Tyson’s comeback bout after his loss to James “Buster” Douglas….as Tyson knocked him out in the first round. He finished his professional career with a record of 25-6-0 with 16 knockouts.

In the movie Rocky V, Tillman played contender “Tim Simms” who lost a bout to “Tommy Gunn” played by Tommy Morrison…..and in the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street…..Dev stated that Henry Tillman was the greatest heavyweight never to have won a world heavyweight championship.

Both Henry Tillman and Bert Cooper were two really good cruiserweight and heavyweight boxers…..it just so happens that they were didn’t ever quite measure up to the great boxers, super great boxers and legendary boxers of the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995)…..so they really boxed at the wrong time to be really good.


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