Gerry Cooney followed his trainer's "stragety" to the misplaced letter and baffled Jimmy Young Sunday. He "manoopolated" his body to avoid Young's punches and was right back in the gym Wednesday to keep up his "staminam."
Take those fractured words of trainer Victor Vallee for it: that was no butt that caused Young's right eye to gush blood in living color on television, leaving him unable to answer the bell for the fifth round; it was a lfet uppercut.
Vallee said, "Guys look for an excuse when they lose. Gerry is so big (6 foot 5) he couldn't get low enough to butt.
"We don't care about Gerry being called a 'white hope.' If the crowds do good. It's a business, boxing. Every little bit helps. "But we're not looking for dreams of being 'the great white hope.' Gerry is just middle class, with a stomach full of good food,a natural puncher. He was a construction worker like his father. He worked hard."
Suddenly big-time promoters and television networks have to take a number and wait their turn to bid for Cooney's services since he beat Young, his first major opponent.
A 23-0 record with 21 knockouts achieved legitimacy with the dispatch of the crafty Young, who once stopped George Foreman and was said to have been out of a decision over Muhammad Ali in 1976 at Capital Center.
Because of his complexion, Cooney automatically inherits the white boxer's psychological burden of the "white hope" cliche, but it is convertible into gold.
Bob Halloran of Caesars World which conducted the Cooney-Young bout in Atlantic City, says, "I want to put him (Cooney) back in Atlantic City while we can afford him. He brought 400 or 500 Long Island fans with him.
"One of his co-managers, Dennis Rappaport, offered Muhammad Ali $250,000 a year for life to fight Cooney, but Ali said, "What if I die in a couple years?"
Halloran would like to see Cooney fight Domingo D'Ella of Argentina or Bernardo Mercado of Colombia.
The "Hype" already is building. Cooney is portrayed as another Joe Palooka, in the best sense of what the comic strip boxer represented. Cooney is a low-key personality who doesn't brag; a clean-cut 23-year old who trains hard.
His celebration of victory over Young consisted of a visit to boxer-friends at Gleason's gym Wednesday before cutting his training to roadwork for about 10 days. His brother operates a bar in Huntington, N.y., and is tossing a bash there for Gerry next Thursday.
Ali knows he would have more help in drawing fans if he fought Cooney than against WBC champ Larry Holmes or Mike Weaver, the WBA champion, despite the fact that neither Ali nor Cooney have titles.
Mike Jones, Cooney's other co-manager, says, "We feel (Cooney is ranked no. 1 contender by the WBA and No. 3 by the WBC) there is nobody that Gerry is not ready for now. It's a case of who we can get the most money against. If the Ali-Holmes bout does not go through--and it's a long way from comming off--we want Ali. If we can't get Ali, we'll take Holmes or possibly Weaver.
"How many times can they recycle guys like Scott LeDoux and Leon Spinks? I've gotten calls from the big-name promoters. The networks want gerry. Cooney is someone fresh, new, talented and liked. We won't tie up with any promoters; guys who do that need fights. The promoters need Cooney."