The fight on 18th June 1963 at Wembley Stadium was won by the 21-year-old Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) by technical knock-out in the fifth round. However a key moment in the contest came in the fourth round when Cooper became the first boxer to put Cassius Clay down on the canvas with his trademark left hook, known as “Enry’s ‘Ammer”.
After Clay’s armpit was caught in the ropes, his trainer Angelo Dundee guided him into the corner and then used smelling salts to revive him – in contravention to the rules. During the interval it was discovered that Clay’s left glove had a small tear
and Dundee told the referee that his fighter needed a new pair of gloves, thus delaying the start of the 5th round.
Cooper later claimed that the delay denied him the chance to knock-out his opponent.
Rallying in the fifth round, Clay caught Cooper with a hard right on the face which opened a cut under his eye. The referee was then forced to stop the fight due to Cooper’s excessive bleeding.
After the fight, the victorious Clay acknowledged: “He hit me harder than anybody else I have met.”
The trunks have been consigned to auction by the former landlord and landlady of the boxing-themed pub The Walnut Tree in Yeading near Hayes, Middlesex, where they were previously on display.
They had received them from the landlord of another pub where they previously worked, The Plough Inn in Norwood Green, who in turn had bought them in a charity auction to benefit the National Association of Boys’ Clubs.
Clay had signed and donated the trunks to the auction.
Graham Budd has received a number of boxing items from the same source, including the gloves worn by Henry Cooper in the Cassius Clay fight at Wembley. They sold for £85,000 at the sale in April, surpassing a £40,000-50,000 estimate.
The Graham Budd sale will take place on November 7-8 at Sotheby’s New Bond Street saleroom. The catalogue for the sale can be viewed on thesaleroom.com.