Monday, May 02, 2011
Henry Cooper - a heavyweight gentleman
Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper has died at the aged of 76.
I once met the great man at a party, so long ago that I can't even remember when. He, of course, had no idea who I was, but the former British, Commonwealth and European champion seemed to have time for anyone and was hugely entertaining.
Sir Henry fought 55 times and I'm sure you wouldn't want to be on the end of his massive fists - as Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) discovered when he was knocked down by the London-born fighter in 1963.
After hearing about Sir Henry's death, Muhammad Ali said he was "at a loss for words", which is a tribute in itself.
"Henry always had a smile for me; a warm and embracing smile", he said. "It was always a pleasure being in Henry's company. I will miss my old friend. He was a great fighter and a gentleman."
Tributes pour in: http://bbc.in/koKHaH
Sir Henry Cooper remembered: http://bbc.in/jeUruY