British boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper passed away today. He was 76 years old.
Cooper (May 3, 1934 - May 1, 2011) was active in the pro ranks for nearly two decades. He made his professional debut on September 14, 1954, knocking out Harry Painter in the fourth round. His last fight came on March 16, 1971, losing a 15-round points decision to Joe Bugner (who would last box in 1999). Going into the fight, Cooper held the European, British and Commonwealth heavyweight belts.
The most talked-about fights of Cooper's career were undoubtedly his 1963 and 1966 fights against Muhammad Ali, still known at that point as Cassius Clay. In their first bout at Wembley Stadium, Cooper knocked Clay down in the fourth round only to be stopped on cuts in the fifth. Their second fight, this time for the world heavyweight championship, was also stopped on cuts in six.
Over the years, Cooper also fought the likes of Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson, Zora Folley, Joe Erskine, and many other notables. His final professional record stood at 40 wins, with 27 by knockout; 14 losses; and one draw.
Bad Left Hook sends our deepest condolences and best wishes to the family and loved ones of Sir Henry Cooper, may he rest in peace.