Eighteen Years Ago This Week - "Two Geezers At Caesars"
17.01.08 - by James Slater: Eighteen years ago this week, "Big" George Foreman, the former heavyweight champion who was well into his improbable comeback, faced his first real test since his return. Squaring up against him was another big name heavyweight who was returning to the ring after a long layoff. Gerry Cooney may not have been as inactive as Foreman had, but the former "Great White Hope" was engaging in his first fight in well over two years. On that occasion, Cooney had been stopped by Michael Spinks, in a bout that contested a version of the heavyweight championship. Now, at age 33, Cooney felt he could derail Foreman's comeback and set himself up for one more crack at glory.
Article posted on 17.01.2008
Much older than Cooney at 41-years-of-age, Foreman was meeting a big punching and dangerous heavyweight for the first time in his comeback - a comeback that had followed a ten year absence.. Cooney was known for his vaunted left hook, and most, if not all, of the fans in attendance at Atlantic City's Caesars Palace were massively intrigued as to what would happen when the two big hitting veterans collided - hence the lack of a single unsold seat. Foreman-Cooney had generated big bucks, and now the fans sat back and awaited more than just a curiosity event.
In the first round, Cooney connected on Big George with his trademark punch. A left hook landed on Foreman's chin and the older man gave a slight wobble. Cooney failed to capitalise, however, and the bell rang shortly afterwards. In his corner between rounds, Gil Clancy, Cooney's new trainer, gave the 33-year-old a stern telling off for not following up when he'd had Foreman hurt. Still, the fight was shaping up as a good one, and Cooney, in winning round one, had won his first round of boxing in years. Could he make a success of his own comeback, while at the same time ruining Foreman's?
The answer was provided in round number two. With Cooney again attempting to give Foreman a lot of movement, the former heavyweight ruler cut through his defence with some hard and accurate blows to the head. A superbly delivered combination sent Cooney reeling, and referee Joe Cortez picked up the count. Bravely, Cooney got up - but the end wasn't far away. Walking towards Cooney in a manner akin to a man crossing the street, Foreman let loose with a perfectly timed left uppercut to the chin followed by a finishing right hand to the head. Cooney crashed to the mat and stayed there much longer than any ten seconds. The fight was over at 1 minute and 57 seconds of the second round.
Many of Foreman's critics now took him at least a little more seriously, while the fans said out loud how they honestly believed old George could beat heavyweight king Mike Tyson. The fight that had been dubbed "Two Geezers At Caesars" beforehand had earned Foreman some much needed credibility. Unfortunately for Cooney, his own comeback had ended badly.
Cooney never fought again, and retired with a respectable record of 28-3 (24). While foreman, as surely all fans know, went on to recapture the heavyweight title at the grand old age of 45. George retired himself in November of 1997, with an outstanding record of 76-5(68). In a career that lasted through four separate decades, George was only KO'd one time - by "The Greatest" himself, Muhammad Ali.
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