We’ve been having a difficult weekend with the news breaking of the unfortunate passing of two very visible faces in the world of Boxing, intertwined in some of its most indelible moments within the last few decades.
Bert Cooper passed away yesterday at the age of 53 due to complications from Pancreatic Cancer. He was a tough fighter from Philadelphia, and was a solid Heavyweight contender. You may know him most from his challenges to Michael Moorer, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, and of course most notably his bout with Evander Holyfield, whom he raised hell against and had Holyfield in some real fits of trouble. He’s one that embodied the fabric of the sport, and he will be missed.
Today we have also received word that Harold Lederman too passed away from Cancer. He endured a very long career with HBO as an Unofficial Scorer for roughly 32 years, and he made his presence known throughout the entire boxing landscape, not just by his bold assertions in his scoring (whether you agreed with his calling or not), but by the relationships that he had with many known figures within the boxing community. He passed away at the age of 79, and his legacy is one that has him heavily integrated into the sports recent history with the impact that he and HBO Boxing has had on watchers of the sport for the last few generations.
I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with this term of phrasing, so I will say “Cancer is a M…”. They fought all the way to the final bell, and in doing so, bought some elements needed to boxing that made for a better sport, Rest easy Champs.