02 May, 2011

Goodbye to Our 'Enry: Sir Henry Cooper 1934 - 2011:

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WHAT IF?: Henry was seconds from World Title
"They did the business on the glove. I've had dinner with him (Clay's Coach Angello Dundee) a couple of times since then and he's openly admitted it"
 - Sir Henry Cooper

Former British Heavyweight Champion Henry Cooper has died in his son's home in Oxford, two days short of his 77th birthday.  
While Our 'Enry never won a World Title, he very nearly knocked out a young upstart called Cassius Clay - 'the Lousiville Lip' in a World Title fight in 1963 at Wembley.  Cooper knocked the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali to the floor with his famous 'Enry's 'Ammer and if there had been 10 more seconds in that (fourth) round; the 21 year old American would certainly not have beaten the count.  Or if he had not had the ropes to cushion his fall; he would almost certainly have been knocked out cold.  Of course, Clay's corner 'created' a tear in his glove at the end of that round, giving the Olympic Champ a few precious extra recovery minutes.  Soon a deep gash opened over Cooper's left eye, leaving him unable to continue after the sixth.  Clay's next fight saw him to defeat Sonny Liston to lift the World Heavyweight Title belt.
Cooper won the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 1967 and 1970, but would never again come as close to the World Title as he did on that famous June night in 1963.  
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN? 'Enry can't go on past Round Five
After retiring, Cooper's fame was maintained as he became a team captain on A 'Question of Sport' and acted in a number of well-known television advertisements.  
Cooper also became well known for his after dinner and charity work.  However, he will leave the World with everyone who remembers still wondering; what would have happened if 'Enry's 'Ammer had hit the "Louisville Lip" 10 seconds earlier on that famous night at Wembley?
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