Gerry Cooney fit and ready for Father’s Day Eve ‘fight’
Fifty-nine, and the answer is no, the urge isn’t dead.
To rumble, middle-aged man, rumble.
To get into shape, rip left hooks, glove up and get ‘er done.
The stakes are different now, sure. Tonight, Gerry Cooney does it to raise money for a good cause, to give back to his boxing family.
The foe isn’t Larry Holmes or George Foreman or Ken Norton. It’s a guy who isn’t a pro, or even an amateur.
He’s funny-fighting … OK, “fighting” … ex- (2004-2006) Jersey Gov. Richard Codey at the W Hotel in Hoboken, New Jersey, topping the bill at the 4th Annual Gerry Cooney Fight Night.
Money raised goes to New Jersey’s Youth Consultation Service.
YCS helps autistic kids, has a counseling center, a one-on-one home visit program and runs residential houses. It helms four schools for kids with behavioral problems, educating them from kindergarten through high school. “I love doing this,” said Cooney, who last gloved up professionally in 1990 and holds a 28-3 mark. “Man, I’m feeling good, down 20 pounds. I sparred 15 rounds the other day!”
Cooney, who does a Sirius radio show with Randy Gordon, does boxing, as do so many, as therapy. It keeps him grounded, eating that occasional right cross.
His younger brother Steven died a couple months ago, and it told Gerry to savor every day. “You gotta appreciate every day!” he counseled.
Boxing for many folks is their replacement family. They find acceptance at the gym, bond with other stragglers and strugglers and dented souls.
Cooney will enjoy Father’s Day with wife Jen, and get cards from kids Chris, 28, Jackson, 18 and Sarah, 15, but there have been times when his boxing family picked up some slack.
Gerry has been sober 28 years, and yes, like many of us, knows that we need assistance sometimes lifting ourselves up. Family and friends and kids and rooters help with that.
As Cooney readies himself to do the charity gig tonight, he will be thinking of his pal Jerry Cap working the corner of Joe Smith tonight in Chicago.
Cooney is thinking and hoping that fellow Long Island native Smith can pull off the upset against Andrzej Fonfara on NBC. “Fonfara ain’t a god, Mikey,” Cooney tells me. We both admit to hoping Smith gives a real good account of himself, that his stock can rise no matter the result. Smith, his path hasn’t been run on smooth pavement. He and his family arguably “deserve” fortune and fate to smile at them. Same as those kids that Cooney’s effort tonight in Hoboken will aid.
Sunday is Father’s Day and cards will be written and read and people will ponder the good dads and the absent ones, and family bonds frayed and strong. Gerry Cooney will ponder, the day after doing a fine philanthropical act. Joe Smith will have won, or lost, and will either be accepting congrats galore or “attaboys” and “get ’em next time.” Family and his boxing family will respond as needed.
Happy Father’s Day, Gerry, and other good role models, from all of us at THE RING; it’s a day to salute the people acting selflessly to oversee the smaller and weaker and in need of counsel or a cheering word or some wisdom that came from getting one’s own teeth kicked or punched in. Happy Father’s Day, y’all.