Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay 1963

Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay 1963 The late Sir Henry Cooper, popularly known as ‘Our ‘Enry’, was one of the most celebrated and successful British boxers since World War II. Cooper turned professional, at the age of 20, in 1954 and went on to enjoy a highly successful professional career; he never won a world title, but was British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion between 1959 and 1971 and European heavyweight champion between 1968 and 1971.

However, for all his success, Cooper is probably best remembered for his narrow, and controversial, defeat by 21-year-old Cassius Clay – soon to become Muhammad Ali – in a non-title fight at Wembely Stadium, London in June, 1963, which very nearly changed the course of boxing. Before the fight, Clay had brashly predicted, ‘It ain’t no jive, Henry Cooper will go in five!’

Nevertheless, towards the end of the fourth round, Cooper, 28, unleashed a trademark left hook – dubbed ”Enry’s ‘Ammer’ – which knocked Clay to the canvas for a count of four. When the bell sounded, Clay was sitting on the seat of his pants, back against the ropes, and had to be walked back to his stool by trainer Angelo Dundee. Dundee administered smelling salts before, apparently, discovering a split in Clay’s glove, which he brought to the attention of the referee Tommy Little.

According to Cooper, Dundee subsequently freely admitted, more than once, that he had deliberately slashed the glove to give Clay more time to recover between rounds. A replacement pair of gloves were fetched from the dressing room and, in the fifth round, a rejuvenated Clay set to work on slicing up Cooper’s already bloodied face; a heavily bleeding cut over his left eye left Cooper unable to see properly and the contest was stopped, with Clay winning by technical knockout.

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Red Rum Wins Third Grand National 1977

Red Rum Wins Third Grand National 1977 Famously trained by the late Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain on the sands of Southport Beach on Merseyside, northwest England, Red Rum won the Grand National for the first time in 1973. On that occasion, ridden by Brian Fletcher, Red Rum overhauled long-time leader, Crisp, who had been thirty lengths clear at one stage, in the dying strides to win by three-quarters of a length in a course record time of 9 minutes and 1.9 seconds.

Red Rum and Fletcher returned to Aintree for another crack at the celebrated steeplechase in 1974 and duly won again. Despite the welter burden of twelve stone, Red Rum came home seven lengths ahead of his nearest rival, L’Escargot. In so doing, he became the first horse since Reynoldstown, in 1936, to record back-to-back wins in the Grand National and – notwithstanding subsequent reductions in the maximum weight carried – remains the only horse since World War II to carry such a weight to victory. Red Rum finished second in the 1975 and 1976 renewals of the Grand National, in 1975 under Brian Fletcher and in 1976 under Tommy Stack, who replaced Fletcher after the latter made disparaging comments to the press about Red Rum and was informed by McCain that he would not be riding the horse again.

Stack was once again aboard Red Rum when he lined up, as a twelve-year-old, for the 1977 Grand National. Generally regarded as past his prime, Red Rum was, nonetheless, saddled with top-weight once again, albeit just eleven stone and eight pounds, and was sent off joint-second favourite at 9/1. He took the lead at the twenty-second fence, Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, following the departure of favourite Andy Pandy, and stormed home to his unprecedented third win in the race, twenty-five lengths clear of his nearest rival.

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Red Rum Wins 1977 Grand National (VIDEO)

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