Fight News Remembering the Greats

Britain’s Hammer: Five Career Highlights from the Late Henry Cooper

News is still spreading the globe this evening about the passing of Sir Henry Cooper at the age of 76. Considered a national treasure in his native Britain, Cooper is forever known worldwide as the man who nearly ended the Ali legend before it started by badly hurting and dropping the brash Cassius Clay in 1963... On this somber day, Beats, Boxing & Mayhem takes a look at some of Cooper's standout performances.

News is still spreading the globe this evening about the passing of Sir Henry Cooper at the age of 76. Considered a national treasure in his native Britain, Cooper is forever known worldwide as the man who nearly ended the Ali legend before it started by badly hurting and dropping the brash Cassius Clay in 1963. But what isn’t well known is that Cooper competed in the ring for 17years and dispatched many capable fighters with his dangerous left hook, know as “‘enry’s Hammer.” On this somber day, Beats, Boxing & Mayhem takes a look at some of Cooper’s standout performances.

COOPER VS. ERSKINE III (NOVEMBER 17, 1959)

Joe Erskine was a lasting rival throughout Cooper’s career. Their second meeting in 1957 was a sour occasion for Cooper, as Erskine outpointed him over 15 rounds to turn back his title hopes for the BBBofC British heavyweight title. In addition, it was the second time Cooper lost to Erskine and capped a four fight losing streak. Cooper rebounded by knocking out Erskine in 12 rounds in this 1959 rubbermatch. The bout was filled by hard fouls early from Cooper, who showed Erskine no respect as he stalked after him. Erskine responded in kind with some rabbit punching. Cooper stunned him in the ninth with a right, and dropped him quickly with a slashing left hook. Another left dropped him quickly and set up a final, chilling third knockdown that left Erskine hanging morbidly on the ropes after three consecutive left hooks.

COOPER VS. BILLY WALKER (NOVEMBER 7, 1967)

After getting sliced up by Muhammad Ali in a rematch and knocked out by Floyd Patterson in four rounds, Henry Cooper appeared to be finished at the elite level by 1967. Nonetheless, Cooper was determined to get himself back in contention, starting with taking out contenders for his British title. Billy Walker was getting popular and considered to have a good shot at taking out the battle-worn Cooper. ‘enry had other ideas, and lacerated Walker’s face with repeated smashing left hooks. His work earned him a cuts stoppage in the sixth, one of the few times Cooper found himself on the better end of that verdict.

COOPER VS. JACK BODELL II (MARCH 24, 1970)

When you defeat an opponent by blasting them out in two rounds, the likelihood of them getting a rematch is very small. Bodell bucked that trend after his 1967 TKO loss to Cooper by going on a 11 fight win streak over the next two years.  He did much better in the rematch, but Cooper showed some decent boxing skill behind a very authoritative left jab to prevent any late fight heroics from Bodell.

 

COOPER VS. ZORA FOLLEY (OCTOBER 14, 1958)

Zora Folley was slowly building to a title shot and had Henry Cooper standing in his way. Early on, it looked like Folley’s experience with better competition would be the difference. He opened cuts above and below Folley’s left eye and scored an early knockdown. But Zolley was too cautious early and then faded, allowing Cooper to surge late to take a points decision.  It was a big win for Cooper on his home turf.  This victory would earn him another shot at the BBB0fC British title in his next fight against Brian London.

COOPER VS. JOE BUGNER (MARCH 16, 1971)

The 36-year-old Cooper was the sentimental favorite when he defended his British title against a 21-year-old, inexperienced Joe Bugner. Bugner was very tentative to open up and appeared content to just land flicking jabs. Cooper was the aggressor for the majority of the contest and landed the harder, albeit sporadic, blows over 15 rounds. In the end, the judges preferred Bugner, causing loud boos for those in attendance at Wembley Stadium. Cooper would hang up his gloves with his reputation and love from the people strong.

2 comments

  1. I was gutted last night when I found out Henry died… Absolute legend, RIP starrr!!!

    He was A real man, old skool, they dont make them like him anymore… He used to cut really easy, so they apparently sawed/smoothed out his protruding eye brow bone to try and stop him cutting so easily!!!

    So sad

  2. I met him once, he gave me some money and we had a good chat about his boxing career and he was such a great personality and one of the best English sportsmen his family is missing a very great man. May God bless him.

    My Condolences.

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