“Smoking” Bert Cooper passes away at 53

Former world heavyweight title challenger Bert Cooper died yesterday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 53.

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.

Cooper made a name for himself in the heavyweight division during the early 1990s. Cooper lost to various heavyweight champions or former champions during that time – most notably Riddick Bowe, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Ray Mercer, and Michael Moorer.

Cooper retired from the sport of boxing in 2012 with a pro record of 38 wins and 25 losses.

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