By Frank Warren
BRITISH boxing lost its favourite son last weekend when Sir Henry Cooper, the sport's only knight, sadly passed away.
Alas, his story was not one of world title glory but instead of a trier with true British grit.
Cooper's tale has never been made into a film but it would make a great movie.
His wife, Albina, came from an Italian family and her father ran a restaurant in Soho.
Henry trained at legendary gym the Thomas a Beckett on Old Kent Road and has a pub named after him there too.
He was trained by the late, great cutsman Danny Holland and with Henry being susceptible to cuts, it made Danny's job a very busy one.
Cooper's Cockney manager, Jim Wicks, was a very shrewd operator well known for his one-liners.
Asked if Cooper would fight Sonny Liston, Wicks replied: "I wouldn't let 'Enry anywhere near that big mahogany wardrobe."
Whilst you rightly wouldn't get away with language like that now, its sentiment explains why Cooper - who was probably the best in Europe - was just short of world class, despite his famed 'Enry's 'Ammer' of a left hook.
He remains the only man to win three Lonsdale belts outright and, in 1963, got a shot at an up-and-coming heavyweight called Cassius Clay.
Their meeting at Wembley is probably Cooper's most famous fight - he floored the Louisville Lip in the fourth with a great left hook.
Clay was saved by the bell but stopped Cooper in the next round.
Cooper's second fight with Clay, by then Muhammad Ali, in 1966 - and with a world title on the line - was a more one-sided affair as Henry lost in the sixth round at Highbury.
It was his only world title shot and when he fought a faded Floyd Patterson in his very next fight, he was halted in four rounds.
Cooper remained unbeaten in seven fights after that defeat until he took on Joe Bugner in his last professional fight in 1971.
In all, Cooper lost 14 of his 55 professional bouts but that never stopped the public loving him.
A genuinely nice guy with time for everyone, it was no surprise that he was so popular - especially as he came so close to beating the best boxer on the planet.
I'M getting fed up with the British Boxing Board of Control refusing to regulate the sport properly.
This week, Dereck Chisora's British and Commonwealth heavyweight title defence against Tyson Fury fell through.
Promoter Mick Hennessy had won the right to stage the fight with a massive £300,000 purse bid but failed to supply a date and venue in time, before asking for an extension until September.
This is the second occasion huge bids have been submitted and a ridiculous situation ensued. The Board should disqualify anyone who doesn't put a fight on from bidding again for the same fight.
A WEEK after Klitschko v Haye, John Murray finally gets it on with Kevin Mitchell in London on July 9.
A week later, WBO super-featherweight champ Ricky Burns defends his title in Liverpool.