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32 years ago

Evander Holyfield vs Bert Cooper

Evander Holyfield vs Bert Cooper

Date: 23rd November 1991

Venue: The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia

Title: WBA & IBF World Heavyweight Titles

Promoter: Main Events

Tv: HBO World Championship Boxing

Evander Holyfield
( 26 - 0 - 0 )
Weight: 210 lbs

Bert Cooper
( 26 - 7 - 0 )
Weight: 215 lbs

In an electrifying bout that unfolded at The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 23, 1991, Evander Holyfield defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Titles against Bert Cooper in a match that far exceeded expectations.

Originally slated to fight Mike Tyson, then Francesco Damiani, Holyfield found himself facing Cooper, a late replacement ranked twelfth by the IBF but not by the WBA or sanctioned by the World Boxing Council (WBC) for this fight. Despite these circumstances, the fight turned out to be a thrilling spectacle, showcasing the heart and resilience of both fighters.

Holyfield asserted his dominance from the outset by landing a punishing left hook to Cooper's body just over a minute into the first round, sending Cooper to the canvas. However, Cooper, displaying remarkable tenacity, rose to his feet and fought on. The third round saw Cooper shock the boxing world when he hurt Holyfield with a right to the chin, sending the champion reeling into the ropes in what was ruled the first knockdown of Holyfield's professional career. This moment marked a significant shift in the fight's momentum, igniting a firestorm of excitement and proving Cooper was not there merely to make up the numbers.

Throughout the middle rounds, both fighters exchanged heavy blows, with Holyfield's right glove needing replacement due to damage and Cooper sustaining a cut over his right eye and bleeding from the mouth. Cooper's corner complained of an ointment causing discomfort to his eyes, adding another layer of drama to the contest. Despite these adversities, both men displayed extraordinary courage and determination.

As the fight progressed into the seventh round, Holyfield unleashed a barrage of twenty-four unanswered punches on Cooper, prompting referee Mills Lane to stop the battle with just two seconds left. HBO commentator Gil Clancy later praised Lane for this decisive action, which was timely and considered the fighter's safety.

The bout against Cooper showcased Holyfield's ability to overcome adversity within the ring and highlighted his versatility and tactical acumen in adjusting his strategy mid-fight. On the other hand, Cooper earned widespread respect for his spirited performance against a reigning heavyweight champion. Despite being a late substitute with seemingly slim chances of victory, Cooper's heart and power made this fight a memorable chapter in the annals of heavyweight boxing.

Holyfield's victory over Cooper solidified his status as the undisputed heavyweight champion and set the stage for future battles against other heavyweight legends. However, the courage, drama, and unexpected turns of the Holyfield-Cooper fight remain a testament to the unpredictable and thrilling nature of boxing, where any fighter can defy the odds and leave an indelible mark on the sport.

Evander Holyfield vs Bert Cooper on YouTube

Evander Holyfield vs Bert Cooper

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