CLAY, CASSIUS-HENRY COOPER I OFFICIAL PROGRAM (1963)

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Regular price $325.00

Henry Cooper twice fought Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), firstly in a non-title fight in 1963 at Wembley Stadium, Wembley Park. Cooper did not have a trainer at that time and his own regime led to his losing weight; he later averred that lead was inserted in his boots for the weigh-in and estimated his true weight to have been 12 stone 12 lb (81 kg), making him 27 pounds lighter than Clay. Commentator Harry Carpenter remarked during the introductions on the difference in size between the boxers. Clay's mobility, fast reflexes, height and unorthodox defensive tactic of pulling back from punches made him a frustratingly elusive opponent; some of Cooper's work during the contest has been described as 'very near the knuckle' with Clay later complaining of being repeatedly hit on the break. In the dying seconds of the fourth round, Cooper felled Clay with an upward angled version of his trademark left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer". Unfortunately for Cooper, his opponent's armpit caught in the ropes going down, which prevented his head from striking the canvas covered boards which made up the floor of the ring (something which could easily have knocked him unconscious). Clay stood up and started slowly towards Angelo Dundee who – in violation of the rules – guided him into the corner. At first Dundee talked and slapped Clay's legs, but after a still-dazed Clay misunderstood and tried to get off the stool Dundee used smelling salts in a serious violation of the rules. (British rules did not allow any stimulant but water.) Dundee has since claimed to have opened a small tear in one of Clay's gloves and told the referee that his fighter needed a new pair of gloves, thus delaying the start of the 5th round. Cooper has always insisted that this delay lasted anywhere from three to five seconds according to the footage, and this did not deny him the chance to try to knock Clay out while he was still dazed. In tapes of the fight it seems Clay received only an extra six seconds (although there are still doubters who think a longer delay was edited out) and the gloves were not replaced. Cooper started the 5th round aggressively, attempting to make good his advantage, but a recovered Clay effectively countered and Cooper was hit high on the face with a hard right which opened a severe cut under his eye; referee Tommy Little was forced to stop the fight. Clay won. After this fight, a spare pair of gloves was always required at ringside. What is certain, however, is that Dundee held smelling salts under Clay's nose in an effort to revive his man, which was illegal. Clay was obviously impressed by the knockdown and on the 40th anniversary of the fight telephoned Cooper to reminisce. Clay, who had changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964, later said on British television that Cooper "had hit him so hard that his ancestors in Africa felt it". Offered here is an original, official program for this event.
This is an original, official program picturing both fighters on the cover and consisting of 32 pages complete. Tight binding. Not scored. Has a center crease. Edge and corner wear and minor surface wear. 8 1/4" x 10 1/2."

Size: 8 1/4 x 10 1/2

Condition: very good