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Ricky Hatton: Henry Cooper Was a True British Legend

Ricky Hatton hailed fellow folk hero Sir Henry Cooper as "a true British legend" following the former world heavyweight title challenger's death on Sunday.

The Londoner passed away at the age of 76 following a battle with illness and will be remembered as one of the country's favourite sporting sons.

Boxing luminaries ranging from Cooper's friend and former opponent Muhammad Ali to current heavyweight champion David Haye have paid tribute to the former British, European and Commonwealth title-holder.

Former two-weight world champion Hatton, who like Cooper and Frank Bruno managed to truly transcend the sport, insists the veteran's personality and fistic achievements will ensure he remains forever in the hearts of the British public.

The Mancunian said in a statement: "It was a sad day for British boxing.

"He is a true British legend and 'Our 'Enry' will be sadly missed, but he won't be forgotten by fight fans. My condolences go to Sir Henry's family."

Cooper will be remembered for his 1963 fight with Ali when he floored the American - then still called Cassius Clay - with his famous left hook and was seconds from victory before losing on cuts in the next round.

The two men met again three years later when Ali was again victorious and the pair remained friends over the years.

"I am at a loss for words over the death of my friend, Henry Cooper," said 'The Greatest'. "I was not aware he was ill.

"Henry always had a smile for me; a warm and embracing smile. It was always a pleasure being in Henry's company. I will miss my old friend.

"He was a great fighter and a gentleman. My family and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and loved ones."

Current British world champions Haye and Amir Khan were quick to pay tribute, as was former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Haye said: "He'd let you know his opinion - whether you wanted to hear it or not! - and I believe the advice he's given me over the years is working out because I'm now the heavyweight champion of the world.

"My parents were big fans, I used to watch his fights and the left hook that he hit Ali with, I've never seen a left hook thrown as punch-perfectly as that.

"That one shot forever will be remembered in British boxing, and world boxing, history. Muhammad Ali is known as the greatest ever boxer, I think that's universally acknowledged, and Henry Cooper put him down very badly while he was young, fresh and at his peak."

Cooper, knighted in 2000, fought 55 times, winning 40 and recording 27 stoppages before retiring in 1971.

Ali himself later released a statement in tribute to Cooper which read: "I am at a loss for words over the death of my friend, Henry Cooper. I was not aware he was ill.

"I visited with him two summers ago during a brief visit to Windsor as part of the Equestrian Games being held there. He was in good humour and looked quite fit.

"Henry always had a smile for me; a warm and embracing smile. It was always a pleasure being in Henry's company. I will miss my ole friend. He was a great fighter and a gentleman. My family and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family and loved ones."

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Dirk Diggler UK on 05-03-2011

[QUOTE=Cash Cow;10467600][B][CENTER][img]http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00152/hatton_early_516_152421a.jpg[/img] :nonono:[/CENTER][/B][/QUOTE] Is that supposed to be funny or what? Idiot

Comment by HattonFaithful on 05-02-2011

[QUOTE=Cash Cow;10467600][B][CENTER][img]http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00152/hatton_early_516_152421a.jpg[/img] :nonono:[/CENTER][/B][/QUOTE] What was the purpose of your post? just to be an ******* or what? The dude is answering a question about a friend of his that passed away. What kind of person are you? R.I.P. Sir Henry…

Comment by Cash Cow on 05-02-2011

[QUOTE=BIGPOPPAPUMP;10467580]Ricky Hatton hailed fellow folk hero Sir Henry Cooper as "a true British legend" following the former world heavyweight title challenger's death on Sunday. [[URL=http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=38729]Click Here To Read More[/URL]][/QUOTE] [B][CENTER][img]http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00152/hatton_early_516_152421a.jpg[/img] :nonono:[/CENTER][/B]

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