One-one with Gerry Cooney
Sunday, May 7, 2017 by Alan S. Hale
It was another big night of boxing in Cornwall on Saturday, with the charity match between city councillor David Murphy and local radio personality Dan Allaire.
Boxing has had quite an impressive few weeks in the city, with hometown hero Tony Luis winning a headline fight against Mexican boxer Noe Nuñez in front of an adoring crowd at the Cornwall Civic Complex – leaving local fans clamoring for more bouts in the future.
As part of the charity event on Saturday, organizers invited former professional boxer Gerry Cooney to attend and be the night’s guest speaker.
The Standard-Freeholder sat down for a one-on-one interview with Cooney to talk about boxing, and the sport’s future in communities like Cornwall. Answers have been condensed for the sake of brevity.
Q: So what have you been up to while you’ve been in Cornwall?
Cooney: We just came from (Champs Eastside Boxing) where they’re training a bunch of the kids, as well as the two guys who are going to be fighting tonight. They’re teaching kids how to protect themselves and how to punch better, and not get hit so much – gotta keep your elbows in – which is great. When you want to learn how to fight, there are plenty of kids who don’t train the right way. After they take shot after shot, they lose interest in the game.
To go to that gym to see their enthusiasm and help mold them with something that will make them feel safe is a great feeling.
Q: As a professional boxer yourself, what are you expecting from a fight between a DJ and a city councillor?
Cooney: I know they’re friends, but when that bell rings and all those people are out there, and the guy gets hit a little bit harder than he thought he should have got hit, it’s gonna turn into the crazy fight. But then they’re gonna realize, “Oh no. I’m dead tired and we’re not even done the first round yet.” That’s the experience. During my first fight, I thought I was in great shape. But you forget to breathe when you don’t have the experience, and when you don’t breathe, you get tired. And that sucks. But they’ll experience that tonight.
Once you get in front of a live audience, it becomes a whole different world. Amatuer guys worry about people watching them and the TV cameras being on. But all you really need to do is just stop peeing your pants about it.
Q: What do you think the future of boxing is?
A: Boxing is so exciting right now. There’s so many great fighters right now in all of the divisions. People got away from the fight game for awhile, I think, while Don King was running it because he was raping amd robbing it and it wasn’t fair. When you watched someone win a fight, they may not have really won. But I think that’s mostly turned around now.
There is so much talent right now. Sal Alverez is fighting Julio Cezar Chavez on pay per view tonight. Big, big fight. Two top Mexican fighters. And the list goes on and on.
A big thing that happened for the fight game was that it was put back on TV. On regular networks like ESPN. People who can’t afford Showtime or HBO can now watch the game.
Q: MMA is such a big thing with younger fans though, can boxing compete with that?
Let me tell you something: I think boxing has far surpassed MMA. There was a lot of talent there for awhile in the UFC. But it seems to be waning. Just look what happened to Ronda Rousey. All the fighters are going.
I think boxing is here to stay, but I wonder what happens to the UFC guys afterwards. There’s no history to tell what happens to someone who takes knees to the head and elbows to the face. It can’t be good for the brain.