LAS VEGAS – Gerry Cooney is glad to hear that Tyson Fury doesn't want to have racist talks about his heavyweight championship fight with Deontay Wilder on Saturday night after going through what he did with Larry Holmes in 1982 before his title fight.
Cooney was featured by organizers and the media as "The Great White Hope" when he met Holmes at Caesars Palace.
"He blew up his mailbox and the Ku Klux Klan sent me letters," Cooney told Post on Thursday. "It was never really about that. I was angry with Holmes because I thought he would make it a racial fight. But then we came to the middle of the ring and [referee] Mills Lane gave us instructions and Larry said, "Let's fight well." Everything else went out the window. "
Holmes won the fight from TKO in the 13th round and the two became close friends. Cooney said he never understood why the organizers made the struggle a race.
"I was in Vegas with all of my friends I grew up with and we lived the dream," said Cooney, a Long Island-born man. "I fought for the heavyweight world championship and ate lobster tails and turtle soup."
Cooney, who came from a working class family on Long Island, ignored the cast as "The Great White Hope".
“I grew up with white, black, Chinese and Puerto Rican. This conversation didn't affect me, ”he said. "People are people."
63-year-old Cooney was on his way to Las Vegas to visit Wilder-Fury 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He said he enjoys the personalities and charisma that the two fighters show.
"I love savages and I love anger," he said. "Listen, they're both half crazy. At least Fury is safe."
He chooses Wilder to win through knockout.
"It's about who learned the most from the first fight," Cooney said of the separate draw at the Staples Center in December 2018. "Who picked up the parts from the other man who made him vulnerable?" I think Wilder with the big blow will have to land him at some point and he'll probably get him out. "
Wilder has to attack the body more, Cooney said, but expects Fury to win the most rounds.
"It's like sparring when they're both outside," Cooney said. "If Wilder comes in and lands a few body shots, he'll make it easy. Will he do that? I don't know. Wilder was behind in both fights [Luis] Ortiz before he knocked him out and lost almost every lap fighting Fury. We want people to be busy and to exchange and act. But Wilder has this killer on his right hand and that's all. He waits and waits, but he could land it every time. "