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Lot 402: The boxing trunks worn by Cassius Clay in the fight v Henry Cooper at
November 7, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: The boxing trunks worn by Cassius Clay in the fight v Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium 18th June 1963, red & white boxing trunks by Ampro of London, signed in ink (now faded, but legible) CASSIUS and then CLAY either side of 'London' on the maker's label, good condition; sold with an original 8 by 6in. b&w press photo, the famous image of Clay on the canvas after being knocked down by Cooper's left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer"; and a copy of an autobiography of the present vendor (3) Henry Cooper and Cassius Clay met at Wembley Stadium, London on the 18th June 1963 in what was billed as "An eliminating contest for the Heavyweight Championship of the World". In the final moments of the fourth round Cooper famously dropped Clay with his trademark left hook, known as "Enry's 'Ammer". Unfortunately for Cooper, his opponent's armpit caught in the ropes going down, which prevented his head from striking the canvas covered boards which made up the floor of the ring (something which could easily have knocked him unconscious). Clay stood up and started slowly towards Angelo Dundee who-in violation of the rules-guided him into the corner. At first Dundee talked and slapped Clay's legs, but after a still-dazed Clay misunderstood and tried to get off the stool Dundee used smelling salts in a serious violation of the rules. (British rules did not allow any stimulant but water.) Dundee has since claimed to have opened a small tear in one of Clay's gloves and told the referee that his fighter needed a new pair of gloves, thus delaying the start of the 5th round. Cooper always insisted that this delay lasted anywhere from 3-5 minutes and denied him the chance to try to knock Clay out while he was still dazed, although tapes of the fight suggest it only gained Clay a few extra seconds. Cooper started the 5th round aggressively, attempting to make good his advantage, but a recovered Clay effectively countered and Cooper was hit high on the face with a hard right which opened a severe cut under his eye. Referee Tommy Little was ultimately forced to stop the fight due to Cooper's excessive bleeding, with Clay declared the winner by TKO. These trunks, along with the John Conteh trunks offered in the following lot, were framed and displayed in the boxing-themed public house The Walnut Tree in Yeading near Hayes, Middlesex, in the 1970s. The present consignors were the landlord & lady of the pub and came from a boxing background. The landlady's brother was Boyd Farrer who was a professional boxer but sometimes helped out behind the bar. They had acquired the Cassius Clay trunks at the end of their training period when they acted as relief managers when tenants were away. The final pub they worked at before taking over at The Walnut Tree was at The Plough Inn, one of the oldest Fuller's pubs, located in Tentelow Lane, Norwood Green near Southall in Middlesex. The landlord of the The Plough Inn had been a great supporter of the National Association of Boys' Clubs, a movement that aimed to provide working class boys a place to socialise and have access to positive activities in their leisure time. Cassius Clay had signed his trunks from the Henry Cooper fight and donated them for an auction that was being held for the benefit of the NABC. The buyer was the Landlord of The Plough Inn and he generously gifted the trunks to the present consignors to be displayed in their new establishment The Walnut Tree. The lot includes a copy of the current vendor's autobiography, Keith Saunders's "Be Lukcy". An account of the Clay and Conteh (see next lot) trunks being on display at the boxing-themed Walnut Tree pub can be found on p.56.