Monday, July 22, 2013

Lights Out For Cooney

It's hard to believe, but there was a time not long ago when we did not have instant access to all forms of entertainment and media. The World Heavyweight Championship was so big that hundreds of people paid $15 to $20 each to watch the fight--live--on closed circuit TV. And it wasn't piped into their living rooms. No, sir, not in this market. People got in their cars and drove to the Erie County Fieldhouse, stood in line, took their seats and waited for the game to begin. (The same fight that you can now watch for free on YouTube.)

The big fight was highly anticipated and there was a lot of trash-talking between the two camps. Neither fighter had lost a match yet. Larry Holmes had a 39-0 record; Gerry Cooney was 25-0. Promoter Don King never missed a chance to hype the match. The fans ate it up. It was time to put up or shut up.

The fight took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and it was broadcast via satellite to venues around the world. The spectators at the Fieldhouse watched every punch, hoping their guy would knock out his opponent. Near the end of the fight it was lights out for Cooney...and Holmes...and everyone watching the bout, when the signal was lost and the screen went dark. After what seemed like eternity, an image appeared on the screen. Cooney, it seemed, was the victor. Or was he? 

As it turned out, Cooney was the loser. Holmes won the match in the 13th round.

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

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