In 1976, Randall “Tex” Cobb, a former kickboxer and a third-degree black belt in karate, came to Philadelphia to start his boxing career with George Benton as his trainer, Joe Gramby as his manager, and Eddie “The Clot” Aliano as his cutman.

When Cobb arrived, I was there at “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s Gym on North Broad Street in Philadelphia. I can still see him kicking the heavy bag, being a former kickboxer. I thought, “he needs a good trainer, and none better than George Benton will make a boxer out of him.”

Starting his boxing career in January of 1977 Cobb stopped his first fourteen opponents before decisioning Roy “Cookie” Wallace, 23-31-2, in El Paso, Texas. He had fights debuting in El Paso, Philadelphia, San Diego, Las Vegas, L.A., Boston, Newark, Atlantic City and Scranton.

In Cobb’s sixteenth fight, he faced one of the hardest-hitting boxers in the game, Earnie “Black Destroyer” Shavers, 60-9-1, at the Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, in August of 1980, stopping him in 8 rounds.

“No one hits as hard as Shavers. If there was a fighter that hit harder than Shavers, I shoot him.”

Cobb then lost back-to-back fights to former champion Ken Norton, 41-6-1, by split decision and future champion Michael Dokes, 19-0-1, by majority decision. After rebounding with a win, Cobb, 18-2, was put on an all-heavyweight card with five fights in Pittsburgh, PA, facing South America’s Bernard Marcado, 27-3.

Cobb was the only white boxer on the card and the last to arrive at the press conference with world champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 38-0, defending his title against Renaldo “Mr.” Snipes, 22-0.

Upon entering the room, Cobb looked at the nine black boxers on the card and said, “Look at this, nine of the baddest n…. ners in the world on one stage!” Then he left out with one of his well-known laughs.

Snipes stood up while the other eight were laughing and said, “I resent that. When I’m done with Holmes, you are next!” Cobb replied, “First, you ain’t beating Holmes, but why don’t you step down here, and we can get it on!” Snipes sat down. Cobb decided Mercado on the event, and Holmes stopped Snipes in eleven rounds.

Five months later, Cobb stopped Jeff Shellburg, 22-4, in seven rounds in Atlantic City, NJ. I remember Cobb in a clinch saying to his opponent, “Let’s go out for a couple of beers after this one!”
Cobb, known for his quotes, said, “All I do is hit somebody in the mouth. It’s a whole lot easier than working for a living. Don’t make anything noble out of what I do.”

The win over Shellburg earned Cobb a world title fight against WBC champion Holmes, 40-0. He stood up to take a beating, losing a lopsided decision. Cobb said after the fight, “I wasn’t talking to Holmes in there.

Every time I felt like saying something to him, I found it hard because he kept putting his left hand in my mouth.” Adding, “Holmes didn’t beat me. He just won the first fifteen rounds.” Ringside commentator Howard Cosell announced his retirement from the sport of boxing after this one, saying the beating Cobb took was brutal.

Cobb bounced back with four wins before losing to future champion James “Buster” Douglas, 17-2-1, by majority decision. In his next fight in a rematch with Dokes, 28-1-2, for the vacant WBC Continental Americas title, he lost by technical decision in four rounds.

Two fights later, Cobb lost for the only time in his career by stoppage to Dee Collier, 7-4. He went 8-0-1 after this before defeating former champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Leon Spinks by majority decision. He went 9-0-1 after this fight, ending his career with a 42-7-1 record with 35 stoppages.

After retiring from boxing, Cobb appeared in numerous films, most notably The Champ, Uncommon Valor, Raising Arizona, Fletch Lives, Ernest Goes to Jail, The Naked Gun 33 1/3, The Final Insult, and the opening sequence of Ace Ventura Pet Detective. He also has appeared in many television shows, such as Miami Vice, The X-Files, and Walker, Texas Ranger.

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