The pull on an athlete to get back into it, start training and give it one more shot is more magnetic in boxing than in any other sport.
In basketball, training camp sprints will put you off the comeback plan. In baseball, spring training will tell you, in the form of not being able to get around that Triple A dude’s fastball, that retirement is still the preferred option.
However boxing is that different animal…
You can go your own pace, work up to a training camp and, once in camp, structure it so you don’t take a pounding. You can work according at an age-adjusted rate.
Now “normally,” by the time one enters his 60s, the pull has lessened. In your 40s, the ring still calls…In your 50s, the call is less frequent – and faint…and by 60, by and large, you have moved on to the point that there a call to action only in your dreams.
But recurrences of “the infection” can pop up again, now more so frequently, as fitness trends make it so older people are not stopping hardcore workouts even when they get to 60 and beyond.
To that end, did you know that Gerry Cooney, the happy hooker from Huntington, Long Island, who rumbled with Ken Norton, Larry Holmes and, in his final face-off, George Foreman, is 62 years old?
And did you know that Cooney, who co-hosts a SiriusXM radio show with Randy Gordon, “At the Fights,” on which this issue first popped up, sometimes spars 10-round sessions against young bucks?
The amiable Irish-American, who is readying an autobiography for summer release, joined me on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast and we looked to get the scoop on the rumor of a Cooney comeback.
Point blank, are you coming back, Gerry?
“I got offered to make between one-and-a-half and four million for Wounded Warriors (a charity),” Cooney said. The money would go to the charity from revenue derived from a pay-per-view clash between Cooney, who last fought in 1990, and a big biker dude from New England.
The biker dude, Cooney said, is 65 and about 280 pounds. “He’s big,” Cooney said. “A street fighter, a tough guy, knocks everybody out.”
Cooney asked his wife what she thought and she weighed in. “She said we don’t need the money but we need you.”
So he mulled it…pondered it…Just his jab alone, he figured, could rock the biker dude.
Is the door closed or naw? Ninety-five percent closed, he said. But…Yes, there were more “buts” coming. He knows he could tire the biker out and yank him into deep waters right quick.
But on to other irons in the fire. The book is coming…a screenplay is in the works…and “The Gerry Cooney Boxing Academy” will open up in New Jersey, next month.
Hear from Cooney himself on what he thinks about the big Polish Brooklyner Adam Kownacki, who he saw live at Barclays Center, and try to get a sense if he maybe pulls the trigger and returns to the ring to see what he’s got left in those fists.
Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.
Struggling to locate a copy of The Ring Magazine? Try here or
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.
No posts found.
No posts found.