Henry Cooper was born on May 3, 1934, in Oxted, Surrey, England. He grew up in a working-class family and discovered a passion for boxing at a young age. Cooper started training at the Eltham Amateur Boxing Club in London, where he quickly developed his skills and soon became known for his formidable left hook.

Cooper made his professional boxing debut in 1954 and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1959, he won the British and Empire heavyweight titles by defeating former European champion Brian London. This victory catapulted Cooper into the international spotlight and established him as one of Britain’s most promising boxers.

Cooper’s most famous fight took place on June 18, 1963, when he faced then-world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay at the time. In the fourth round of the bout, Cooper managed to land a powerful left hook, famously known as “Enry’s ‘Ammer,” which sent Ali sprawling to the canvas. However, controversy ensued as Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, quickly interfered by tearing Ali’s glove to buy him more time to recover. This extra time allowed Ali to regain his composure, and he eventually went on to win the fight.

Throughout his career, Cooper faced numerous notable opponents, including Floyd Patterson, Karl Mildenberger, and Zora Folley. Despite never winning a world title, Cooper was respected for his fighting spirit and was known for his remarkable toughness and durability in the ring. He retired from professional boxing in 1971, leaving behind a distinguished record of 40 wins (27 by knockout), 14 losses, and 1 draw.

Following his retirement from boxing, Cooper pursued a successful career in broadcasting. He became a commentator for the BBC, where he provided expert analysis and commentary on boxing matches. Cooper’s charismatic personality and extensive knowledge of the sport made him a beloved figure in the broadcasting world.

Cooper also dabbled in acting, appearing in several films and television shows. He had roles in movies such as “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Carry On Henry,” further showcasing his versatility and talent outside the boxing ring.

In recognition of his contributions to the sport of boxing, Cooper was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1969. He was also inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, cementing his legacy as one of Britain’s greatest boxers.

Outside of his professional achievements, Henry Cooper was known for his humility and sportsmanship. He famously said, “Once you’re in the ring, you shake hands and fight like a man.” Cooper’s legacy extends beyond his accomplishments in the ring and the broadcasting booth. He was a sports icon who inspired generations of young boxers and left an indelible mark on British boxing.

Henry Cooper passed away on May 1, 2011, at the age of 76. He is remembered as a true gentleman of boxing, a remarkable athlete, and a beloved figure in British sports history.

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