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Bertram Cooper (January 10, 1966 – May 10, 2019), nicknamed Smokin' Bert Cooper, was an American heavyweight boxer.[1] He fought Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, Chris Byrd, Ray Mercer, and Corrie Sanders, among others. Cooper challenged three times for a world title, and was known for being in several wild brawls in the 1990s, specifically his two world title bouts with Holyfield and Moorer.

Bert Cooper
Real nameBertram Cooper
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Born(1966-01-10)January 10, 1966
Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMay 10, 2019(2019-05-10) (aged 53)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights63
Wins by KO31
No contests1

Professional career

Cooper came out of Philadelphia and was trained in his early years by ex-champ Joe Frazier, and rose in the rankings with a series of explosive knockouts in the Cruiserweight division. Unable to get a world title shot despite winning the NABF belt and defeating Olympic gold medallist Henry Tillman and future world champion Tyrone Booze, he began boxing in the heavyweight division, knocking out Willie DeWitt in 2 rounds but being stopped in 8 rounds by No. 1 ranked heavyweight contender Carl "The Truth" Williams and in 2 rounds by George Foreman.

In 1990, having failed to secure a cruiserweight world title fight, Cooper moved to heavyweight permanently, knocking out top 5-ranked Orlin Norris and claiming his NABF title. He lost the title in his first defense, outpointed over 12 by undefeated Olympic gold medallist Ray Mercer in an explosive brawl. Later the same year he was KO'd in 2 rounds by fast-rising Riddick Bowe and his career looked over. However Cooper bounced back in 1991, stopping Joe Hipp in 5 rounds then being matched on short notice with Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight championship after two opponents dropped out. Cooper came off the floor in the first round to stun Holyfield in the 3rd round, the two exchanging big blows before the referee Mills Lane stopped the fight in the 7th.

The fight made Cooper a big name and he would be matched in many high-profile fights over the years. In June 1992 he boxed undefeated Michael Moorer for the vacant WBO title, knocking Moorer down twice but also going down twice himself before being stopped in the 5th. Cooper's career went downhill from this point, being outpointed by veteran Mike Weaver for an obscure title in China then losing to prospects like Corrie Sanders, Chris Byrd, Fres Oquendo, and Joe Mesi. On June 18, 2010, Cooper, aged 44, made a successful comeback after eight years out of the ring, a sixth-round knockout of Corey Winfield in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


His hometown was Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, United States. He was 5'11" (180 cm) tall. He died on May 10, 2019 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 53.[2][3]

Professional boxing record

38 Wins (31 knockouts), 25 Losses, 0 Draws, 1 No Contest [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 38–25
1 NC
  Carl Davis TKO 2 (6) 08/09/2012   Civic Center, Hammond, Indiana
Loss 38–24
1 NC
  Chauncy Welliver UD 10 05/04/2012   Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City, Missouri For WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title.
Loss 38–23
1 NC
  Luis Ortiz TKO 2 (10) 23/04/2011   Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo, Miami, Florida Cooper down twice in round 2.
Win 38–22
1 NC
  Gabe Brown SD 10 26/02/2011   Club Europe, Atlanta
Win 37–22
1 NC
  Corey Winfield KO 6 (6) 18/06/2010   Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Loss 36–22
1 NC
  Darroll Wilson TKO 4 (?) 20/09/2002   Blue Horizon, Philadelphia
Win 36–21
1 NC
  Craig Tomlinson UD 10 22/06/2002   Sovereign Center, Reading, Pennsylvania Won USA Pennsylvania State heavyweight title.
Loss 35–21
1 NC
  Joe Mesi TKO 7 (10) 27/07/2001   Civic Center, Niagara Falls, New York Cooper down once in the 2nd & twice in the 7th.
Loss 35–20
1 NC
  Fres Oquendo UD 10 16/10/1999   Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville, Indiana
Win 35–19
1 NC
  Brian Yates TKO 4 (10) 19/06/1999   Genesis Center, Gary, Indiana
Loss 34–19
1 NC
  Derrick Jefferson TKO 2 (10) 04/03/1999   Soaring Eagle Casino, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Loss 34–18
1 NC
  Anthony Green UD 8 19/09/1997   Allentown, Pennsylvania
Win 34–17
1 NC
  Richie Melito KO 1 (12) 29/07/1997   MSG Theater, New York City Won WBF Heavyweight title.
Loss 33–17
1 NC
  Samson Po'uha TKO 4 (12) 22/04/1997   The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Loss 33–16
1 NC
  Chris Byrd UD 10 18/03/1997   IMA Center, Flint, Michigan
Loss 33–15
1 NC
  Alexander Zolkin TKO 9 (12) 23/06/1995   Atlantic City, New Jersey For NABF Heavyweight title.
Win 33–14
1 NC
  George Harris KO 1 (?) 30/07/1994   Cincinnati
Loss 32–14
1 NC
  Jeremy Williams DQ 7 (10) 24/06/1994   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles
Win 32–13
1 NC
  Joe Savage KO 1 (10) 22/04/1994   Civic Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Loss 31–13
1 NC
  Larry Donald TKO 7 (12) 14/04/1994   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi For WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight title.
Loss 31–12
1 NC
  Craig Petersen SD 3 03/12/1993   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi "People's Choice One-Night Heavyweight Tournament" fight.
Win 31–11
1 NC
  Mike Robinson TKO 3 (?) 18/11/1993   Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Loss 30–11
1 NC
  Corrie Sanders TKO 3 (10) 26/06/1993   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey Cooper was knocked down once in the 3rd.
Win 30–10
1 NC
  Derek Williams UD 10 25/03/1993   Harrah's Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Loss 29–10
1 NC
  Mike Weaver UD 10 27/02/1993   Capital City Gymnasium, Beijing, China For vacant NBA Heavyweight title.
Win 29–9
1 NC
  Rocky Pepeli TKO 8 (10) 15/09/1992   War Memorial Auditorium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Win 28–9
1 NC
  David Jaco UD 10 11/07/1992   Fort Myers, Florida
Loss 27–9
1 NC
  Michael Moorer TKO 5 (12) 15/05/1992   Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey For vacant WBO Heavyweight title. Moorer down in 1st and 3rd; Cooper down in 1st and 5th. Fight was named KO Magazine Fight of the Year in 1992.
Win 27–8
1 NC
  Cecil Coffee TKO 2 (10) 15/02/1992   Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Coffee down once in the 1st and once in the 2nd.
Loss 26–8
1 NC
  Evander Holyfield TKO 7 (12) 23/11/1991   The Omni, Atlanta For WBA & IBF Heavyweight titles. Cooper down in round 1. In round 3 Holyfield down for the first time in his career.
Win 26–7
1 NC
  Joe Hipp TKO 5 (10) 18/10/1991   Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey Fight stopped due to excessive swelling around Hipp's eyes.
Win 25–7
1 NC
  Anthony Wade TKO 8 (8) 08/08/1991   Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 24–7
1 NC
  Conroy Nelson TKO 9 (10) 11/05/1991   Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Win 23–7
1 NC
  Loren Ross TKO 8 (10) 26/02/1991   Birmingham, Alabama Ross was hospitalised after this fight.
Loss 22–7
1 NC
  Riddick Bowe KO 2 (10) 25/10/1990   Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Loss 22–6
1 NC
  Ray Mercer UD 12 05/08/1990   Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey Lost NABF Heavyweight title. Cooper down in round 1.
Win 22–5
1 NC
  Orlin Norris TKO 8 (12) 17/02/1990   Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Won NABF Heavyweight title. Behind on points, Norris twists his knee in the 8th and is unable to continue.
NC 21–5
1 NC
  Mike Cohen ND 8 (?) 09/12/1989   Daytona Beach, Florida
Win 21–5   Rick Hoard TKO 1 (6) 28/09/1989   Finky's Bar, Daytona Beach, Florida
Loss 20–5   George Foreman RTD 2 (10) 01/06/1989   Pride Pavilion, Phoenix, Arizona Foreman landed several big hooks to the body in round 1 that hurt Cooper. In round 2, he continued to work the body and landed a solid right hook that stung Cooper. Cooper remained on his stool and did not answer the bell to begin the 3rd round.
Loss 20–4   Nate Miller TKO 7 (12) 15/02/1989   Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia Lost NABF Cruiserweight title. Cooper does not come out for round 7.
Win 20–3   Tony Morrison TKO 9 (12) 27/09/1988   Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. Morrison down 3 times from body shots in round 9, causing the automatic stoppage pursuant to the three-knockdown rule.
Loss 19–3   Everett Martin UD 10 01/06/1988   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 19–2   Tony Fulilangi TKO 4 (12) 15/03/1988   Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. Fulilangi was cut on the side of the nose by a Cooper punch in round 3. In round 4, as Fulilangi landed with both hands, Cooper responded with a right hand to the head that sent Fulilangi sprawling onto the canvas.
Win 18–2   Tim Bullock TKO 3 (10) 04/12/1987   Sands Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey Corner retirement.
Win 17–2   Andre McCall TKO 6 (12) 20/11/1987   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. McCall down in the 6th round.
Loss 16–2   Carl Williams RTD 8 (12) 21/06/1987   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey For vacant USBA Heavyweight title.
Win 16–1   Willie de Wit TKO 2 (10) 14/02/1987   Regina Agridome, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Win 15–1   Carlos Hernández TKO 8 (10) 02/12/1986   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 14–1   Spencer Chavis TKO 8 (10) 10/10/1986   Showboat Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. With this win Cooper becomes the first fighter to successfully defend the NABF Cruiserweight title on two occasions.
Win 13–1   Tyrone Booze SD 12 26/08/1986   Stateline, Nevada Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. After the split decision verdict in favour of Cooper was announced, Booze shook his head in disappointment and walked straight out of the ring.
Win 12–1   Henry Tillman UD 12 15/06/1986   Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained NABF Cruiserweight title. Tillman down twice in round 2, the first time as a result of a left hook and the second time from an overhand right to the head.
Win 11–1   Oscar Holman TKO 10 (10) 18/04/1986   Trump Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Loss 10–1   Reggie Gross TKO 8 (10) 31/01/1986   Trump Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 10–0   Cedric Parsons KO 1 (10) 11/12/1985   Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 9–0 Ray Davison UD 6 09/10/1985   Trump Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 8–0   Tim Davenport TKO 1 (?) 03/08/1985   Scranton, Pennsylvania
Win 7–0   Larry Givens TKO 3 (6) 20/05/1985   Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada
Win 6–0   Jim "Kool Aid" Jones KO 1 (6) 09/05/1985   Caesars Boardwalk Regency, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 5–0   Lorenzo Boyd KO 1 (?) 18/04/1985   Monroe, Louisiana
Win 4–0 Alvin Fuggs KO 1 (?) 23/02/1985   Sands Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 3–0   Ian Priest TKO 1 (6) 24/11/1984   Leisure Centre, Gateshead, England, United Kingdom
Win 2–0   Mark Young TKO 2 (4) 30/10/1984   Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 1–0   Dennis Caldwell KO 1 (?) 11/09/1984   Atlantic City, New Jersey


  1. ^ Baum, Clive. "World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Bert Cooper". World Boxing Federation. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Henry Tillman
NABF Cruiserweight Champion
15 June 1986 – 15 February 1989
Succeeded by
Nate Miller
Preceded by
Orlin Norris
NABF Heavyweight Champion
17 February 1990 – 5 August 1990
Succeeded by
Ray Mercer
Preceded by
Lionel Butler
WBF Heavyweight Champion
July 29, 1997 – January 29, 1998
Succeeded by
Joe Bugner
Preceded by
Roy Williams
USA Pennsylvania State Heavyweight Champion
June 22, 2002 – September 9, 2005
Title next held by
Eddie Chambers