Henry Cooper and I were friends for 53 years, and I am privileged to have been given permission by his sons to write this initmate and informative book on his life and times. I had hoped it would be an autobiography, but dear Henry departed before I could turn it into reality.
When Sir Henry died on May Day 2011 the depth of affection in the tributes were a testament to his remarkable popularity. Put simply, Henry – Our Enery – was not only the nation's favourite boxer but also the best loved of all British sportsmen; a gentleman and a great sportsman of whom his old rival Muhammad Ali remarked of their first fight, 'Henry hit me so hard my ancestors in Africa felt it'.
Sir Henry's popularity transcended boxing and he became an even bigger national hero in the years after his retirement at the end of a 17-year fighting career in 1971, which finished with a controversial defeat by Joe Bugner that Henry disputed to his last day . He was the first person to be twice voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and his 'ammer – a lethal left hook – was one of the most feared and fearsome punches in boxing.
He was the only boxer to win three Lonsdale Belts outright, was undefeated European and 'Empire' champion and the British title-holder for more than eleven years. It was not all success. He was twice wiped out almost to the point of bankruptcy, and the book reveals the private pain that he kept hidden from the public.
Written using interviews I recorded before Sir Henry's death, A Hero for All Time puts his life and extraordinary boxing career into fresh focus. It includes in-depth summaries of the major fights, with new commentaries from Sir Henry. It also includes many previously untold stories about his boxing career and paints a reveailing portrait of a man whose courage, skill and sportsmanship lifted him into the land of sporting legend.
Published by Robson Press, the 250-page, profusely illustrated hardback book retails at £20. You can buy it through me for just £15, plus p&p