You know Randy “Tex” Cobb; from his fights, from his movie and TV appearances – indeed, his movie and TV career – and from his funny as hell guest appearances on late night chat shows. Cobb had THE sharpest wit of any heavyweight fighter you care to mention, with many of his lines being legendary. And Cobb had one of the sturdiest chins in the long history of the division.
Today, Tex turns 68, and never has a greater guy been wished a happy birthday by so many! Cobb was never world champion but he faced the best: Larry Holmes (in arguably the most one-sided heavyweight title fight ever; “I had him, I just ran out of time!” Cobb quipped afterwards), Leon Spinks, Earnie Shavers (“No-one hits harder than Shavers. If anyone hit harder than Shavers, I’d shoot him,” Cobb remarked after his 1980 dust-up with Earnie), Ken Norton, Michael Dokes (twice), and Buster Douglas.
Cobb lit up the game. He fought his ass off and then he laughed about it, in doing so making us laugh so hard it we kind of knew what it felt like to take a solid body shot. Nothing could ever get Tex down and he made a career out of having fun. “Fighting? It beats workin’ for a living,” he once said. Cobb would, despite claims to the contrary, train hard for a fight, but after it was over, win or lose, he would crack open a cold one and sit back. And Cobb never took boxing too seriously. “All I do is hit people in the mouth. Don’t make nothing noble out of what I do,” he blared.
Cobb is also famous for making Howard Cosell do something he himself never did: quit. After being so offended by the one-sided barbarity of the Holmes-Cobb fight, and the fact that it was not stopped, Cosell announced his announcing days were over. Cobb, upon hearing the news, spat, “I can do my sport no greater service.”
Cobb was stopped just once in a fight (in boxing, that is – Tex also showed his worth as a karate badass). It was in 1985, when the little-known Dee Collier managed to stop Cobb in a round. Fans everywhere have their theory on what happened that night.
And then Cobb became a household name, or face, on the silver screen and on the TV screen. Movies such as “The Champ,” “Uncommon Valour,” “Raising Arizona,” “Fletch Lives,” and “Ace Ventura” boasted a significant contribution from Cobb, and he was making us all laugh all over again. As with boxing, Cobb never got all uppity and over-serious about acting. “If you screw up, all that happens is they say, ‘take-two!” he explained on one of his numerous appearances on The David Letterman Show.
Cobb enjoys a pretty low-profile these days, but his fans will never, ever forget him. Tex is a legend, even though he himself would cheerfully deny it. Whatever he’s doing these days, here’s hoping Tex Cobb is enjoying himself, is knocking back a cold one every once in a while, and that his sharp wit is still full of punch.
Nobody was born tougher than Tex Cobb, and no fighter was ever blessed with such a God-given ability to extract laughter.
Here’s another gem from Tex to sign off with:
“Boxing writers are the only people who have less constructive jobs than I do. I don’t do nothin’ but hit people, and those mothers don’t do nothin’ but write about what I do!”
What a guy!