Cooney Blames King For Decline Of Heavyweight Division
Since the 1990’s, the popularity of heavyweight boxing has seen a decline. With a lack of star-power in comparison to the glory days, and the rise of lower weight-class fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and more, the once dominant division took a noticeable skid.
Former heavyweight champion, Gerry Cooney lays much of the blame on promoter Don King.
Cooney believes that King’s business practices was a big influence in the career decisions of top heavyweight athletes – who declined to pursue pro boxing careers and instead entered football, basketball and other sports.
Now with King largely out of the picture, Cooney feels the division is really picking up, as fighters like Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua lead the division.
“Yeah, I’m hopeful,” Cooney told Boxing News.
“Real heavyweights are coming back again. I think that Don King raped and robbed the game so bad that a lot of those guys that would have gone to boxing went to football, baseball and basketball. And now they’re trickling back.”
Cooney is impressed with WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder, but feels the champion has yet to be tested. That will change when he steps in the ring with Wilder. Like most who follow the sport, Cooney wants to see him trade punches with Joshua.
“Deontay Wilder, who’s a very exciting kid, he wants to fight everybody,” Cooney said. “But he hasn’t really been tested yet. I love that kid, I’m a big fan of his, but we have to see. Him and [Anthony] Joshua would be giant.”
And Cooney was also impressed by the boxing ability of Fury and the strategy he used to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO titles in a major upset.
“He kept him off balance,” Cooney said. “Klitschko was scared, he couldn’t get set.”