Muhammad Ali vs Henry Cooper #1

18 June 1963

Muhammad Ali had his first fight overseas against Henry Cooper, in an eventful fight that saw Ali put on the floor by an Enry’s Hammer Left Hook at the very end of round four.

Henry Cooper stated that the ropes saved Ali from being even more heavily concussed than he was, as the ropes let him down gently to the canvas and if he had been in the middle of the ring the impact from hitting the floor direct would have shook him up even more.

Muhammad Ali who was saved by the bell, was helped back to his corner by Angelo Dundee, who started slapping his legs trying to bring him back round as he was clearly still "out on his feet”, all-though not proven many believe he may have gave him some kind of smelling salt’s. If true and he was caught it would have been a reason for disqualification.

ali vs cooper 1

Dundee then called over the referee Tommy Little to show him a tear in Ali’s right gloves down the seam. Officials were asked to get a new pair of gloves for Ali.

Many people think this extended Ali’s recover time greatly, only six seconds was added according to the fight footage available now, but cooper insisted that the delay was for a minute or more in addition to the regulation time between rounds, and denied him a chance to finish off Ali.

Commentator Henry Carpenter backed up this version of events, but because the surviving BBC tape of the bout is only of what was actually broadcast, not a live recording, a longer delay may have been edited out for the transmission.

Ali came out aggressive in the fifth round and the fight was stopped because of the cuts sustained to Cooper’s face.

ampro boxing shorts worn by ali in his first bout against henry cooper official ampro boxing shorts worn by ali in his bout against henry cooper

These were the shorts worn by 21 year old Muhammad Ali on the 18th June 1963 at Wembley Stadium sold for £70,000 at auction.