Sunday, 1 May 2011

Down, But Not Out

Sad to hear that another legend from my childhood has died. While Henry Cooper's 1963 fight with Cassius Clay was a little too early for my memory, I do recall the World Heavyweight Title fight in May 1966 at Highbury against Muhammad Ali, and his final fight against Joe Bugner in 1971. Cooper's 1963 fight with Cassius Clay at Wembley Stadium is a great example of how the truth should never be allowed to get in the way of a good story. 

For those not as old as me, which is probably most readers, the unbeaten Clay was knocked down by a left-hook from Cooper in the fourth round, a blow that Ali (nee Clay) later said "had hit him so hard that his ancestors in Africa felt it". In the fifth round, the fight was stopped due to Cooper being cut, while ahead on the scorecard. That much is fact, but for years after, the claim by Cooper and his fans was that during the break between the 4th and 5th rounds, Clay was given an extra 3 to 5 minutes to recover while looking for a new pair of gloves. The tapes show that in fact the extra time was six seconds, although it is also a fact that Clay's trainer used smelling salts, which was against the rules. Even today, people will relate the story of the extra five minutes as if it were fact. It was Mark Twain who quipped that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes".

Not a good weekend for the Strong Draw picks with late goals again upsetting two of the four losing picks. The ROI drops precipitously to 8.68% for the year. Pete Nordsted found Wigan Athletic v Everton to pad his profits for these bets, but Football Elite came up short with their sole pick of Deportivo La Coruna (Draw No Bet) v Atletico Madrid (0-1). This was one of my strong draws, so I guess an away win was always on the cards here!

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