Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
GERRIE - SUMMARY

GERRIE COETZEE

© GERRIE COETZEE 2010-2017
Gerhardus Christian Coetzee (born April 8, 1955 in Boksburg), better known as Gerrie Coetzee,  is a South African former boxer. He made   history   two   times:   He   was   the   first   African   ever   to   fight   for   the   world's   Heavyweight   title,   and   the   first   to   win   the   world Heavyweight   title.   His   nickname   was   The   Bionic   Man,   because   he   always   had   trouble   with   his   right   hand,   and   had   a   few   corrective items put in it during three surgeries.
REAL NAME:
RATED AT:
NATIONALITY:
BIRTH DATE:
BIRTH PLACE:
TOTAL PRO-FIGHTS:
WINS:
WINS BY KO:
LOSSES:
DRAWS:
Gerhardus Christian Coetzee
Heavyweight
South African
April 8, 1955
Boksburg, South Africa
40
33
20
6
1
GERRIE COETZEE
RISE TO CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENTION
Coetzee   started   boxing   professionally   on   the   night   of   September   14,   1974,    when   he   beat   19   fight   veteran   Christian   Roos   by   a decision   in   four.   He   followed   that   win   with   21   more   consecutive   wins   to   reach   a   record   of   22-0   before   fighting   for   the   World   Heavyweight Championship (WBA version) for the first time. Among   those   wins,   there   was   one   over   Roos   in   a   rematch,   which   Coetzee   won   by   a   knock-out   in   three;   wins   over   former   world   title challengers   Ron   Stander,   Randy   Stephens   and   Pierre   Fourie;   a   South   African   Heavyweight   championship   winning   effort   against   Kallie Knoetze   (unanimous   decision   in   10)   as   well   as   a   first   round   knockout   of   former   world   Heavyweight   champion   Leon   Spinks.   With exception of the Spinks bout, held at Monte Carlo, the rest of Coetzee's fights during his early run were held in his native South Africa. Coetzee had displayed impressive right-hand power, speed and composure in the Spinks win, legitimizing his reputation as a title-threat.
FIRST ATTEMPT AT A WORLD TITLE
He   was   able   to   challenge   John   Tate   for   the   WBA's   world   Heavyweight   title   that   had   been   left vacant   by   Muhammad Ali.    The   fight,   according   to   many   South African   historians,   did   cause   some   social impact   because   it   reunited   135,000   people   to   watch   an   event   between   a   Black   (Tate)   and   a   White (Coetzee)   in   a   South   Africa   that   was   split   by   Apartheid.   It   was   one   of   the   first   major   public   events   where Blacks and Whites could join together in public since that ideology had taken over in South Africa. Gerrie   Coetzee   became   the   first   African   Heavyweight   ever   to   challenge   for   a   world   title,    but   his dream   of   becoming   the   first African   world   Heavyweight   champion   had   to   wait,   because   he   was   beaten   by Tate by a decision in 15 rounds. Coetzee   fought   lethargically   and   his   stamina   and   pace   were   lacking.   Such   would   be   the   story   of   much   of   his   career.   Aggressive   and willing,   Coetzee   nonetheless   seemed   to   have   no   Plan   B   if   he   didn't   KO   his   opponent.   In   future   matches,   his   self-awareness   of   his stamina-issues seemed to play on his performances.
SECOND ATTEMPT AT A WORLD TITLE
Tate,   however,   lasted   shortly   as   world   champion,   as   he   was   dethroned   by   Mike   Weaver   in   his   first   title defence. Coetzee, by his part, knocked out Mike Koraniki in the first round to keep his lofty status. Then,   Weaver   travelled   to   South   Africa   to   defend   against   Coetzee,   once   again,   fighting   in   front   of   a   very   large crowd.   Coetzee's   dream   was   almost   reached   in   this   fight,    as   his   pressure   and   aggression   saw   him   leading through   8   rounds,   but   Coetzee's   stamina   failed   him   and   he   began   to   throw   less,   lean   and   maul   more   and   get   hit more often coming in with his unprotected head high. He was KO'd by a counter right-hand in the 13th round.
ROAD TO A THIRD TITLE SHOT
Undaunted,   Coetzee   went   back   to   boxing   soon   and   beat   fringe   contender   George   Chaplin    before facing   with   Renaldo   Snipes,   a   man   who   later   would   be   seconds   away   from   becoming   world   champion   when he   dropped   Larry   Holmes   in   a   title   challenge.   Coetzee   dropped   Snipes   multiple   times   and   seemed   to dominate,   but   the   fight   was   scored   by   rounds   and   not   on   points,    and   he   lost   a   ten   round   decision   that was deemed one of the worst in the decade. Coetzee   racked   up   four   victories   between   1981   and   1983,   including   a   defeat   of   former   world   title   challenger Scott   Le   Doux.   He   faced   future   world   champion   Pinklon   Thomas,   who   held   him   to   a   draw   in   a   bout   where Gerrie Coetzee again had an early lead.
THE THIRD TITLE SHOT
Despite   the   outcome   of   the   Thomas   fight,   (or   perhaps   because   of   it)   Coetzee   received   his   third   world   title try   against   WBA   title-holder   Michael   Dokes.    By   now   known   as   someone   who   couldn't   win   "The   Big   One" the   third   time   turned   out   to   be   the   charm   for   Coetzee.   In   front   of   a   road   crowd   in   Akron,   Ohio   and   a   HBO Boxing   audience,   Coetzee   dominated   Dokes,   counter   punching   and   utilizing   his   rarely   used   left   hand   in knocking   out   Dokes   in   the   tenth   round   to   become   South   Africa's   first   World   Heavyweight   Champion ever. He   also   became   the   first   Caucasian   world   Heavyweight   champion   in   23   years   (Gerrie   Coetzee   vs. Michael   Dokes).   The   fight   was   KO   Magazine's   Upset   of   The   Year   for   1983.   It   turned   out   that   the   punch   that knocked   out   Dokes   hurt   Coetzee   even   more:   his   right   hand   was   broken   and   required   his   second   surgery   (at   least),   a   metal   implanting surgery, five days after the fight, in New York.
SHORT CHAMPIONSHIP REIGN
There   was   much   talk   about   a   unification   bout   with   the   other   world   Heavyweight   champion,   Holmes,   in 1984,   and   a   contract   was   signed   for   that   bout.   There   were   massive   financial   issues   when   the   backer   of   the bout   couldn't   raise   the   original   purse   necessary,   not   to   mention   Coetzee   re-injured   his   hand   during   training camp, requiring another surgery. Thus cancelling the fight. When   he   was   able   to   get   back   in   the   ring,   Coetzee   was   paired   with   Greg   Page   (the   real   #1   contender   David Bey,   refused   to   go   to   South Africa   as   described   in   "Only   in America:   The   Life   and   Crimes   of   Don   King"   by   Jack Newfield, Bey became the #1 by outpointing Greg Page over 12 rounds). In   a   give   and   take   match   highlighted   by   Coetzee's   total   lack   of   form   and   apparent   overconfidence   as   well   as Page's   strong   chin,   the   two   exchanged   momentum.   It   was   clear   however   that   Coetzee   was   a   sitting   duck   for Page's   counter-punching   and   his   once   dependable   chin   seemed   to   fail   him.   Coetzee   lost   his   world   title   when   he was knocked out by a left in round eight. This proved to be another controversial bout. Coetzee's   camp   protested   that   while   Coetzee   was   on   the   canvas,   the   bell   had   sounded   and   the   referee's   count   should   have   been waved   off,   which   would   have   allowed   Coetzee   to   continue   for   at   least   one   more   round.   The   round   in   question   actually   went   for   almost   a minute too long. Despite this, the WBA decided to leave Page as the winner by a knock-out in eight.
POST CHAMPIONSHIP CAREER
After   this   fight,   Coetzee   made   token   attempts   at   a   comeback.   He   beat   Mike Tyson   rival   James   "Quick" Tillis   by   a   decision   in   ten,   and   went to   England   to   fight   future   world   Heavyweight   champion   Frank   Bruno,   losing   by   a   knock-out   in   one.   After   that   fight,   he   announced   his retirement,   but   came   back   twice   during   the   1990s,   winning   by   knock-out   in   three   against   both   Dave   Fiddler   and   Wes   Turner   in   1993,   and then winning against Dan Komiscki in three. Gerrie Coetzee has stayed retired ever since. His overall record stands at 33 wins, 6 losses and 1 draw, with 20 wins by knockout.