The Time Tunnel: A Case For Cobb

19.01.04 - By Jim Amato: Who was the best white heavyweight of the 80’s? Gerry Cooney? Maybe, but doubtful. Gerry had the big punch but his chin was suspect. Also Cooney never benefited by being tested on his way up. He may well have been the best packaged and most protected heavyweight title challenger in boxing history. No, for my money Randy “Tex” Cobb was the king of the white heavies in the 80’s. In all Tex met five world champions and several to contenders.

Cobb began his career in 1977 and worked his way slowly into contention. By the end of 1979 Tex had reeled off 13 straight kayo wins. Number 13 being against tough Cleveland heavyweight Terry Mims. In 1980 he was finally forced to go the distance against journeyman Cookie Wallace. Two fights later Tex broke into the heavyweight ratings stopping thunderous punching Earnie Shavers in Detroit. Three months later Tex dropped a controversial decision to ex-champion Kenny Norton.

In 1981 Cobb gave a good account of himself in a losing effort against Michael Dokes. Two fights later Tex outpunched rugged Bernardo Mercado over ten rounds. That victory set Randy up for his shot at immortality. A crack at Larry Holmes’ heavyweight title one year later. On November 26, 1982 in Houston, Holmes gave Cobb an unmerciful battering for fifteen lopsided rounds. Still Tex never went down and his fighting spirit refused to quit. Ringside announcer Howard Cosell thought this bout to be so brutal that he walked away from pro boxing. Whether or not Cosell’s departure was for good or bad for boxing is debatable but Tex always took pride in himself for being the reason Howard left.

After the Holmes loss Tex won four straight but future champion Buster Douglas then outscored him. Next came a four round technical loss in a rematch with Dokes. Tex then dropped a verdict to Eddie Gregg. On October 25, 1985 the Cobb granite chin deserted him. He was dropped numerous times and halted in one round by club fighter Dee Collier. Randy took 1986 off to regroup.

Tex began his comeback in 1987 against less then stellar opposition. Still he had nine bouts without a loss. On March 1, 1988 Randy met ex-titleholder Leon Spinks. Although near exhaustion at the end, Tex hung on to win a hard fought battle. After the Spinks triumph Randy laid off for over three years. His comeback in 1992 with Paul Barch was covered with controversy. Accusations of a fix led to lawsuits. Still Randy pressed on but he never again had a major bout. He won his last eight fights. Seven by knockout but against undistinguished names.

I guess you could make a case for Gerrie Coetzee who did win a piece of the title. Still, in his prime Randy fought the best and only lost to the best boxers of his time. Holmes, Norton, Dokes, and Douglas. I rest my case.

Article posted on 19.01.2004

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