We all decry the relative lack of ability in the Heavyweight division, the Klitschko's aside the division is relative poor. This issue isn't helped by the fact that a lot of much older Heavyweights are continuing to fight often beyond the point of being competitive with anyone. In the past we've looked at both Oliver McCall and Andreas Sidon and now we add the name of the once promising and often exciting Smokin Bert Cooper (38-24-0-1, 31) who will face hard punching Russian Andrey Fedosov (22-2, 18) on August 18th.

The 46 year old Cooper debuted way back in 1984 which was incidentally over a year before Fedosov was even born. On his debut the 18 year old Cooper stopped Dennis Caldwell inside a round and went on a destructive tear winning his first 10 fights (9 by T/KO) in a little over a year.

Cooper's unbeaten record came to an end in early 1986 as he quit against Reggie Gross (who would later go on to lose to Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno). Less than 3 months later Cooper was back in action and strung together 6 more wins (4 by T/KO) including notable victories over Henry Tillman (who had won a Gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games) and Willie de Wit (who had won a Silver medal in the same Olympics).

Over the following few years Cooper saw his record fall from an impressive 16-1 (13) to 22-7-0-1 (19) with losses coming to Carl Williams (TKO8), Everett Martin (UD10), Nate Miller (TKO7), George Foreman (TKO2), Ray Mercer (UD10) and Riddick Bowe (TKO2). It would have been fair to have written off Cooper already, despite the fact he was only in his mid 20's. He however refused to be written off and he bounced back by scoring 4 straight wins (all by TKO) including a 5th round TKO over Joe Hipp in a classic all action brawl.

After both Mike Tyson and Francesco Damiani pulled out of fights with the then unbeaten (26-0) world Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield (who was the WBA, WBC and IBF champion), Cooper got the call for his first world title bout. The bout between Cooper and Holyfield was a true war with both men being hurt multiple times and both men having counts against them, the first of Holyfields career. Whilst Cooper put on a brave effort he was sadly beaten up and finally stopped by the referee in round 7 of a classic Heavyweight battle.

It would take long for Cooper to get his second world title fight as he faced the then unbeaten Michael Moorer (28-0) for the vacant WBO Heavyweight title. Like the Holyfield bout this was an hellacious slugfest with both men being dropped twice. Moorer was down, hard, inside the first 45 seconds and it seemed as if Cooper was about to crowned world champion until Moorer fought back and dropped Cooper about a minute later. Moorer was dropped for the second time in the bout in round 3 as Cooper bounced shots off his head with a vicious combination, sadly for Cooper however Moorer got up and in round 5 Moorer unleashed his own combination dropping Cooper for a 9 count before the referee waved the bout off.

Sadly the loss to Moorer would be the end of Cooper at the highest level as his record continued to slip falling from 27-9 to 33-15 over the following 3 years as he suffered losses to anyone he faced with a pulse. Interestingly amongst his wins over that period he scored a notable victory over Bare Knuckle fighter Joe Savage which we will talk about in more detail in the future.

In 1995 after being stopped by Alexander Zolkin it appeared that Cooper had retired from the sport though for some reason, 21 months later, Cooper returned to the ring. Up on his return to boxing Cooper would be widely out pointed by future champion Chris Byrd and then lose, by TKO to Samson Po'uha. Cooper stopped the rot by scoring a very unexpected victory over the then unbeaten New Yorker Richie Melito. Melito had selected Cooper as an opponent expecting to get a high profile win on his record seemingly however Melito had forgotten that Cooper could still punch and inside a round Melito was lying on his back with his eyes glazed over. The victory over Melito was the last one of note for Cooper who has fought on and off for the last 15 years winning 4 of his 11 subsequent bouts.

In a career that dates back almost 30 years Cooper has faced a Heavyweight who's who including George Foreman, Ray Mercer, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, Mike Weaver, Corrie Sanders and Chris Byrd. Sadly however the punishment from those bouts has likely accumulated and with 15 stoppage losses against him, we wouldn't be shocked if Fedosov manages to not only beat Cooper but stop him.

Whilst Cooper was one of the most fun Heavyweights to watch, his style has seen him take excessive punishment and when you add that to his lengthy career it's perhaps time that Cooper was saved from further punishment.
 





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