"Smokin'" Bert Cooper To Return To Ring This Friday?

by James Slater - Talk about a blast from the past! Remember "Smokin'" Bert Cooper, the one-time world heavyweight title challenger, the man who came within a whisker of taking out Evander Holyfield way back in 1991? Well, according to the former contender, now aged 44 and inactive since 2002, will return to action this coming Friday night in North Carolina. Set to face the debut-making Corey Whitfield, Cooper, 36-22(30) will (if the fight actually comes off) be having his first fight in almost eight years..

I say IF the fight comes off, because Cooper was up as returning to action a while back; last October to be exact. Back then Boxrec had him down as returning against unbeaten heavyweight Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell, but that match-up never came off - with Mitchell instead facing and defeating Jermell Barnes on the October, 2009 date. It seems Cooper is still intent on fighting again, though.

It's impossible to know what kind of shape Bert is in these days, and I have to admit to knowing nothing of Whitfield, the man he is set to face this week. As such, it's also impossible to make any prediction on how this fight, scheduled for six-rounds, will turn out. Can Whitfield fight? Does Cooper have anything at all left to offer?

The fight is set to go ahead on the under-card of Earl Ladson-David Saulsberry, another heavyweight clash, and there are a further five bouts scheduled.

Fighting on such a low-key card, so far down the bill as he will be, Cooper will be a long, long way from his glory days of the early '90s. Back then, "Smoke" was rumbling on pretty even terms with such well known heavyweights as Orlin Norris (WTKO8), Ray Mercer (LPTS12), Joe Hipp (WTKO5), Holyfield (LTKO7) and, in a real up-and-down war, Michael Moorer (LTKO5).

Back then Cooper weighed a trim and ready 215-220-pounds, and before that he was a svelte-looking cruiserweight. Bert tipped-in at well over 240-pounds for his last fight, the September 2002 4th-round TKO loss to Darroll Wilson, and it's anyone's guess what he weighs today.

I guess we'll find out on Friday - at least those fans in attendance inside the Winston-Salem venue in North Carolina will find out. These fans will also get to see a one-time heavyweight crowd-pleaser as he tries, somewhat unrealistically, to kick-start his career and earn at least one final payday whilst doing so.

Article posted on 15.06.2010

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