"You have a small period of time when you can perfect your career and become good at it. A lot of guys get distracted, which only hurts them. You must stay focused and work very hard at boxing."
Known for his big left-hook and imposing size, the tall, lean Gerry Cooney had his first paid boxing match on February 15, 1977, in which he knocked out Billy Jackson in the first round. By
1980, Gerry was being featured on national television. Rising to the challenge, he defeated one-time title contenders Jimmy Young and Ron Lyle, both by knockouts. He was ranked Number One by the WBC, and was eager for a match with champion Larry Holmes. In 1981, Gerry defeated former world heavyweight champion Ken Norton by knockout, only fifty-four seconds into the first round with a blisteringly powerful attack. This broke Lee Savold’s record for quickest knockout in a main event at Madison Square Garden. The following year, Holmes agreed to fight him. The bout drew worldwide attention, and Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney was one of the biggest closed-circuit/pay-per-view productions in history, and was broadcast to over 150 countries. Although Gerry fought bravely after he was knocked down briefly in the second round, he ultimately lost to the champion by stoppage in the thirteenth round when his trainer stepped into the ring to save his fighter from potentially sustaining career-compromising injuries. Gerry compiled a professional record of twenty-eight wins (twenty-four of which were by knockout) and only three losses. He is ranked number 53 on Ring Magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Punchers of All Time.”
Upon retirement, Gerry founded the Fighters’ Initiative for Support and Training, an organization dedicated to helping retired boxers find jobs. He is also a supporter of the “Hands are Not for Hitting” program, which promotes the prevention of domestic violence. Gerry continues to do his part to build interest in boxing by guiding aspiring young fighters in the gym, and in June 2010 became the co-host of “Friday Night at the Fights” on Sirius XM Radio, where he shares his views with listeners on active fighters and relevant issues in the sport.
He now resides in Fanwood, NJ with his wife Jennifer and their three children. He has been inducted into the Walt Whitman High School, NY, hall of fame for his prestigious career and contributions to his beloved sport and community.