Whether Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will indeed meet for all the heavyweight marbles seems increasingly uncertain – and whether, if they do, it will be on the proposed date on April 29 appears even more in doubt. One man who remains optimistic that the clash will take place, however, is former two-time heavyweight challenger Gerry Cooney. Speaking to ProBoxTV ringside in Boston before Freddie Roach-trained prospect Callum Walsh ran his record to 6-0 on Thursday night, Cooney also had thoughts on the likely winner and how he would have tackled the giant enigma that is Fury.
Standing 6’9” and weighing upward of 260 pounds, but frequently showing the agility of a far smaller man, Fury seems like he would be a tough puzzle to solve in any heavyweight era. So how does a member of one of the greatest eras view him?
“You know, it's fun to watch him,” Cooney enthused. “He went up 350 pounds, came back and wanted Wilder when nobody wanted Wilder, and he knocked him out. Yeah. He's got it all. He beat Klitschko, he beat everybody in front of him. But listen, this is a big challenge for Fury. Usyk's not that small a guy; he’s six foot four [6’3” according to BoxRec]. He's fast. He can move. Can he disrupt Fury's feinting and make him miss and keep him off balance? If he can, we may see trouble, but I love Fury.”
So how would Gerry Cooney, circa 1981, try to defeat the Tyson Fury of 2023?
“I would love it. I would go to here,” he explained, as he dug a pair of hands into a reporter’s generously proportioned waistline. “I would sit down. I got to get to the belly. If I get him to the belly, his hands have got to come down. Get inside, before he starts to hold you – and make sure the referee knows he’s holding. Nobody has done it, but if I was fighting him, that’s what I’d do. Get to the body. But I think he’s phenomenal.”