Former contender Gerry Cooney is excited about the current heavyweight division, particularly about the potential of unbeaten standouts Deontay Wilder and Mike Perez.
"I'm very excited about (the heavyweights). Mike Perez, from Ireland. Listen, Deontay Wilder has done everything that they've asked of him. He's gotten all knockouts and he's still developing his form," the 57-year-old former heavyweight title challenger told RingTV.com.
Cooney, who retired in 1990 with a mark of 28-3, with 24 knockouts, fought during the late 1970s and 1980s. He knocked out Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle and future hall of famer Ken Norton, but he lost his title bid against Larry Holmes in 1982. The 6-foot-6 Cooney was 25 years old with a mark of 25-0 that included 21 stoppages when he lost by 13th-round knockout to Holmes.
"Muhammad Ali's time was magical. Larry Holmes' time was magical. To come out with a personality like Ali, I don't see that in anybody yet, but it could very well be Deontay Wilder. We don't know. He has potential. I speak to him a lot," Cooney said.
"You've got Bermane Stiverne, who [promoter] Don King has. You've got Tyson Fury, who is talking a lot of stuff. He might want to quiet down a little bit.
"So the division is making it's name. It's making you interested in following it again. You want to see Mike Perez fight Deontay Wilder, and I want to see Wilder fight Stiverne. There's some interesting bouts that can be made. There are a lot of possibilities."
The 6-7 Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs), one of the few American heavyweight contenders, and Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs), a native of Cuba who lives in Ireland, are a pair of 28-year-old up-and-comers.
The WBC has declared Wilder's March 15 fight with Malik Scott to be a title eliminator. The Wilder-Scott winner will be the mandatory challenger to the winner of an anticipated April rematch between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola, a fight that is for the title vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
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