By Lem Satterfield
Former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney had lineal champion Tyson Fury winning Saturday’s heavyweight title clash, “nine rounds to three or maybe eight rounds to four” over WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder, who scored two-knockdowns during their draw.
Cooney was ringside as the 6-foot-7 “Bronze Bomber” (40-0-1, 39 KOs) scored ninth and 12th-round knockdowns against the 6-foot-9 “Gypsy King” (27-0-1, 19 KOs) at The Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Judge Robert Tapper scored the fight for Fury, 114-112, Alejandro Rochin had it for Wilder, 115-111, and Phil Edwards had it even, 113-113.
“I thought that Fury befuddled Wilder the whole fight, and that Wilder didn’t make any adjustments at all,” said Cooney, 62, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighed as much as 238 pounds before retiring in 1990 with a mark of 28-3, with 24 knockouts.
“Wilder just kept trying to hit him with that right hand, but I really think that he has to become more of a body puncher. I mean, what I would have done against Fury was to try to get inside of that jab and bang on that body as much as I could, and then, maybe from there, try to turn that right hand over to the top and take Fury out of there.”
Cooney fought during the late 1970s and 1980s, knocking out Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle and future hall of famer Ken Norton.
“The Gentleman’s” stoppage losses were in the second, fifth- and 13th rounds against champions George Foreman (January 1990), Michael Spinks (June 1987) and Larry Holmes (June 1982).
Cooney was 25 years old with a mark of 25-0 that included 21 stoppages when he lost his title bid against Holmes.
In November 2015, Fury earned a unanimous decision over Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), a feat that ended the Ukrainian’s dominance at 22-0 (15 KOs) and 11 ½ years and made Fury the IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO champion.
Then in April 2017, IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO counterpart Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) stopped Klitschko by 11th-round TKO, rising from the canvas in the sixth and scoring knockdowns in the fifth and last rounds of his third defense.
Wilder was ringside in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in August for Fury’s unanimous decision over Francesco Pianeta, representing his second fight since Klitschko following June’s fourth-round stoppage of Sefer Seferi.
Wilder was coming off a three-knockdown, 10th-round knockout in March of previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz, who had Wilder badly hurt and nearly out on his feet in the seventh round.
“The knockdowns were two-point rounds for Wilder, but Fury, for the most part, had Wilder baffled and not knowing what to do. Wilder kept doing the same thing every. I thought his corner should have told him to drop to work the body and then turn the right hand over to the top, but he didn’t do that at all. Not that it was going to be easy, because Fury is very, very awkward, and he kept feinting all night long. Fury was doing to Wilder the same thing he did against Klitschko, keeping him off balance,” said Cooney.
“If Fury has a jab that’s four feet long, then once it’s out there, it’s gonna take a long time to get back. Wilder didn’t seem to have the courage to go inside and work the body. Wilder has one weapon, that right hand, and he’s used it to knock out 39 guys. So how can you not pick him to, as some point, land that right hand. But Fury did his homework, lost a lot of weight, got off of the drinking and drugs and overcame mental problems to do what he did. Fury’s like a real-life Rocky story.”