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Bert Cooper

Bert Cooper Profile Image
  • Nickname: Smokin
  • Date of Birth: 10th January 1966
  • Died: 10th May 2019 (53 years old)
  • Career length: 27 years 11 months
  • Status: Deceased
  • Nationality: USA Flag USA
  • Birthplace: Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, USA Flag Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Residence: Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, USA Flag Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Height: 182cm
  • Reach: 199cm
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • BoxRec: Bert Cooper
  • Debut: 11th September 1984

Biography

Bertram "Smokin' Bert" Cooper was a formidable American professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2012. Born on January 10, 1966, Cooper made a name for himself in the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, facing some of the era's most notable fighters, including Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, and Riddick Bowe.

Cooper's early career was guided by the legendary former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. Under Frazier's tutelage, Cooper quickly rose through the ranks in the cruiserweight division, earning the NABF belt and scoring impressive victories over Olympic gold medallist Henry Tillman and future world champion Tyrone Booze. Cooper struggled to secure a world title shot despite his success in the cruiserweight division.

Determined to make his mark, Cooper transitioned to the heavyweight division in 1990. He immediately impacted, knocking out top-ranked contender Orlin Norris and claiming the NABF heavyweight title. Although he lost the title in his first defence against undefeated Olympic gold medallist Ray Mercer, Cooper's performance in the thrilling brawl garnered significant attention.

Cooper's career-defining moment came in 1991 when he stepped in on short notice to challenge Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight championship. In a stunning display of heart and resilience, Cooper recovered from a first-round knockdown to become the first man to floor Holyfield in the third round. The two warriors exchanged heavy blows until referee Mills Lane stopped the fight in the seventh round, with Holyfield emerging victorious. Cooper's valiant effort earned him widespread recognition and respect within the boxing community despite the loss.

In June 1992, Cooper challenged the undefeated Michael Moorer for the vacant WBO heavyweight title. In another action-packed encounter, both fighters hit the canvas twice before Moorer stopped Cooper in the fifth round. This fight marked the beginning of a gradual decline in Cooper's career, as he lost to several up-and-coming prospects, including Corrie Sanders, Chris Byrd, Fres Oquendo, and Joe Mesi.

Cooper made a successful comeback at 44 after an eight-year hiatus from the ring. On June 18, 2010, he scored a sixth-round knockout victory over Corey Winfield in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, proving his fighting spirit had remained strong with age.

Throughout his career, Bert Cooper was known for his exciting, fan-friendly style and willingness to take on the toughest challenges. His bouts with Holyfield and Moorer, in particular, are remembered as wild, action-packed affairs that showcased Cooper's incredible heart and determination.

Sadly, Cooper passed away on May 10, 2019, at the age of 53, after battling pancreatic cancer. He left a legacy as a fearless competitor who never shied away from a challenge and always gave his all in the ring. His hometown of Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, mourned the loss of a local hero who had proudly represented their community on the global stage of professional boxing.