Gerry Cooney was born in Manhattan in 1956, and was raised in Huntington, Long Island. He began his amateur career in 1971, at the age of 15, and quickly established a name, building a record of 55-3. One of Cooney's greatest triumphs came on St. Patrick's Day 1972. Before 21,000 screaming fans at Madison Square Garden, the 16-year-old Cooney, the 6'4" and 160 pounds, won a New York Golden Gloves title. In addition to winning a second NYGG title, Cooney also represented the USA in international competitions vs. England, Scotland, and Wales. He also competed in the 1976 Olympic Trials.
Cooney began boxing professionally in 1977, and racked up 25
consecutive wins. In 1982, he earned a shot at undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. After 12 hard-fought rounds, Cooney was stopped in the 13th. Over the course of his 14-year career, Cooney also fought Ron Lyle, Jimmy Young, Ken Norton, Michael Spinks, and George Foreman. One of the best left hook artists in boxing, Cooney retired in 1990 with a
record of 28-3.
After leaving the ring, Cooney entered the highly competitive world of boxing promotion and put on title bouts featuring Roberto Duran, Hector Camacho, and Foreman. Cooney is also part-owner of a minor-league baseball team.
In 1998, Cooney fulfilled a lifelong dream by founding F.I.S.T., the Fighters' Initiative for Support and Training. As Cooney puts it, "What F.I.S.T. does is help fighters make the transition when they want to get out of fighting and back into the mainstream of life." Cooney got the inspiration for F.I.S.T. after talking with struggling boxers during his many travels. He and his wife Jennifer have plans to expand the NY/NJ program throughout the country.
In his spare time, Cooney teaches boxing classes, plays golf, and tools around on his motorcycle. He and Jennifer have two sons, Jackson and Christopher, and a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth.
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