Sir Henry Cooper, who will always be remembered for flooring Muhammad Ali, has died aged 76.
Cooper, who was knighted in 2000, is best remembered for two famous clashes with Ali in the 1960s. He floored Ali in the fourth round with "Enry's Ammer" – his trademark left hook – but Ali eventually won the 1963 non-title fight at Wembley. Ali triumphed again when they boxed three years later but Cooper remained a favourite with the British public.
Alongside Frank Bruno, Tommy Farr and Lennox Lewis, he is regarded as one of the best all-time British heavyweights. The former British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion fought 55 times but never won a world title and retired in 1971 after losing to Joe Bugner.
Tributes began to pour in on Sunday night for the London-born Cooper, who died at his son's house at Oxted, Surrey, two days before his 77th birthday.
David Haye, the British WBA world heavyweight champion, tweeted: "One of Britain's greatest sports man Sir Henry Cooper passed away today. A true warrior and great human being. Rest in Peace."
Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, described Cooper as "one of the sporting icons, not just for the boxing public but sport in general".
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Smith said: "He fought Muhammad Ali twice, once when he was Cassius Clay and once when he was Muhammad Ali, and he put up wonderful performances.
"Ali is possibly the greatest athlete there's ever been and Henry put up a great performance and just wasn't quite good enough on both occasions – but he's not the only one who wasn't good enough to beat Ali.
"Ali was one of the first 'big' heavyweights and Henry lost to Joe Bugner, who was 15-odd stone and Henry was 14 – just bigger men. For such a small man, he put up some great performances in a world-class context."
On the affection in which Cooper was held he said: "It's not just the boxing and your ability, it's the personality as well. He won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on two occasions, which is a tremendous feat for a boxer. Everyone called him 'Our Enry' and he was much loved, he served boxing wonderfully."
Johnny Nelson, the former WBO cruiserweight world champion, told Sky Sports News: "Henry was a total champion. He was always a gentleman, always straight down the line. He told it how it was.
"Ali always showed that bit of respect for Henry Cooper. He was a no-nonsense fighter, the man that almost dethroned one of the greatest fighters in the world, Muhammad Ali. There's nobody that came across Sir Henry that had a bad word for him."
Splash it on all over. RIP Henry.
Flooring is one term...you could also say he dropped him fair and square on his arse...Ali was lucky the bell rang at the same time because he might not have made the count...I think his main weakness was the tendency to cut...a sad loss
Yes... bled like a stuck pig if I recall...
Those fights were great... as a Clay-Ali fanboy, it was hard to admit I couldn't help pulling for Cooper. And since my dad hated Ali, there was no way I was going to let him see it.
RIP one hell of a fighter.
What a wonderful man. A real gentleman.
"Take this, brother; may it serve you well."
I read his book, he was a nice guy caught up in a shitty world. Boxing in the 50s had some really colourful people in it.
He wrote, "the punch that always knocks you out is the one you don't see coming.."
In later years i went to listen to Chris Ubank talk, he didn't really want to talk about boxing but it ended up about boxing(surprised?)
When my turn came round to ask a question I told Ubank that i read "the puches that knock you out are the ones you don't see coming." and asked him if he felt the same, he said it was nonsense and how he'd never been hurt in a fight, and who'd wrote it. He went quite when i told him and back tracked on what he said.
That is a fond memory that Sir Henry Copper gave me, too young to watch him fight but still left an impression on me!
Those that want to read whatever they can want all freedoms, but have to understand they can have freedom, but it must be within the law.
a legend. made boxing come alive to me as a nipper.
"vast and black. the thing that was poised, like a crow over the moon. round and smooth. cannon balls. things that have fallen from the sky to this earth. our slippery brains. things like cannon balls have fallen, in storms, upon this earth. like cannon balls are things that, in storms, have fallen to this earth. showers of blood. showers of blood. showers of blood. " c.f.
My dad hated Ali because, to his mind, Clay (which he insisted on calling him for years) epitomized the modern athlete: cocky and demanding and daring to have opinions.
To him, Cooper was precisely the opposite: a true gentlemanly sportsman.
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