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'A great fighter and a gentleman'

Mohammed Ali has paid tribute to Sir Henry Cooper, who died at his son’s house in Surrey on Sunday at the age of 76.

Ali, who was famously put on his backside by Cooper in 1963, back when he was still called Cassius Clay and people referred to him as the ‘Louisville Lip’, went on to become a close friend of the East Londoner. He called Cooper a ‘gentleman’, but most importantly, a ‘great fighter’, which coming from The Greatest is about the highest compliment you could receive.

‘I was not aware he was ill,’ said Ali. ‘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.’

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