Legendary heavyweight Cooney coming to town
Former world No. 1 contender here Oct. 19-20 for a book signing, broadcast of Crowley’s defence
Gerry Cooney was one of boxing’s marquee names in the 1980s and local fight fans can meet him Oct. 20.
In 1982, a large crowd at the Peterborough Memorial Centre watched Cooney’s epic fight with Larry Holmes on a giant screen.
On Oct. 19, Cooney and former Ring Magazine editor-in-chief Randy Gordon will be the broadcast team for the UFC Fight Pass livestream of hometown hero Cody Crowley’s latest Canadian title defence at Homecoming V: Going Global. Cooney and Gordon have new books on the market, and on Oct. 20 they’ll have a book signing at Chapters Indigo, 873 Lansdowne St., at 11:30 a.m.
In addition to being Irish, Cooney said he can identify with Crowley’s small town origins. Cooney grew up in a small town on Long Island, N.Y. and made his first breakthrough at the Golden Gloves.
“I grew up in a small town in Huntington, where I laced on the gloves at 16 and won the middleweight championship in Madison Square Garden in front of 21,000 people on St. Patty’s Day,” Cooney said.
“I know what it was for me to travel 30 miles from Long Island, from a country town atmosphere, to the city. That’s how life starts out for all of us. We start out small.”
Crowley (17-0, 9 Kos) will defend his Canadian Professional Boxing Council superwelterweight title against Quebec’s Mein Hussain (16-1, 6 KOs).
Cooney has watched Crowley on YouTube.
“He’s got a lot of talent,” Cooney said. “I don’t know how much he’s being pushed by his opponents, so it will be fun to go up and watch him. Maybe I’ll be able to talk to him a little bit. All you need is promise and if he has that look in the eye he can go as far as he wants.”
Cooney’s recently released biography “Gentleman Gerry: A Contender in the Ring, A Champion in Recovery” chronicles his rise to No. 1 heavyweight contender. And his crash, following the loss to Holmes, into alcohol and drugs and his recovery.
“I came from an alcoholic family system, with lots of neglect and abuse. I made it from being told ‘You’re no good. You’re a failure. You’ll never amount to anything,’ to being ranked No. 1 in the world,” he said.
The book chronicles his fall, as he put it “Getting knocked down.”
“And how we have to get up and dust off our pants and move forward. Sometimes you get knocked down again, and you move forward. And then how we rise to the top and make it through. I made it out of the hole in good shape.”
A year after a devastating loss to Michael Spinks, his life changed. On April 21, 1988 a cop from his neighbourhood, a recovering alcoholic, took him to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Cooney has been sober more than 31 years.
“We all have stories,” he said. “Mine is one of hope and love. I get a chance today to help people every day get to a better place.”
This show will be UFC Fight Pass’ first foray into boxing, a longtime desire of former UFC owner Dana White.
Cooney and Gordon, whose book is titled “Glove Affair,” have co-hosted “At The Fights” on Sirius-XM radio
“Dana White is a great guy, look what he did in MMA. He wants to come in and make a statement in boxing,” Cooney said.
“We’re fight fans and we love this game. I welcome a guy who is going to make it better for us and the fighters who come up. I want to be involved in it.” for a decade.
Randy Gordon, left, and Gerry Cooney will be the broadcast team for Cody Crowley’s super-welterweight title defence.