1991-11-23 Evander Holyfield w rsc 7 Bert Cooper, The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, USA - IBF/WBA/WBC
1991-11-23 Evander Holyfield w rsc 7 Bert Cooper, The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, USA - IBF/WBA. Referee: Mills Lane. After looking likely to finish early when putting Cooper (215) down with a left hook to the body, the champion soon realised that his opponent was no patsy when he came roaring back before the end of the opening session. Cooper continued to throw dangerous shots and in the third he had Holyfield (210) in such trouble on the ropes that a standing count was enforced. The pace was terrific as Cooper went for broke and with Holyfield hitting back hard it left both men almost exhausted. The next three sessions saw Cooper trying to force matters, but coming off worse with Holyfield picking his punches and in the sixth the challenger was cut over the right eye. Holyfield was now in control and although Cooper was still giving it everything he was falling apart and with two seconds left of the seventh the referee came to his rescue when he was backed up on the ropes being hit with all manner of shots and not fighting back.
Although the WBC refused to sanction the contest on the grounds that Cooper was not a top-ranked fighter they still recognised Holyfield as the champion, and while there were those who felt that the WBC would only recognise a Holyfield title fight when he defended against Mike Tyson, that would have changed after the latter received a jail sentence at the end of March 1992.