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'Dangerous' Dan was a charismatic character

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Dan had bludgeoned his way to victory and became a big attraction with his aggression and natural charisma

Dan had bludgeoned his way to victory and became a big attraction with his aggression and natural charisma

Dan had bludgeoned his way to victory and became a big attraction with his aggression and natural charisma

Irish boxing is mourning the loss of former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Dan McAlinden, who died yesterday aged 73.

Dan's passing came on the 50th anniversary of the great fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, when the Newry man was part of the undercard.

Managed by legendary boxing figure Jack Solomons, Dan was facing the brother of the three-time heavyweight champion, Rahman Ali. He came out on top but Ali then complained about a bad low blow when they met in the dressing room.

"Rahman said to me, 'Man, you nearly ruined my wedding night'. He was getting married a fortnight later," quipped Dan.

A colourful character with a fan-friendly all-action style, 'Dangerous' Dan won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1966, in Kingston, Jamaica before going on to turn professional three years later.

The zenith of his professional career came at Villa Park on June 27, 1972 when he took the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from Jack Bodell. Dan was regarded as the underdog against Bodell, who had 12 months earlier defeated former world title challenger Joe Bugner.

But Dan charged at Bodell like a raging bull and, as the bell rang for the end of the first round, the champion was in serious trouble before being hammered to the canvas in the second. Such was the invasion of the ring by Dan's supporters that BBC commentary Harry Carpenter exclaimed: "The Irish fans are climbing over me to get into the ring... and this ring will hardly support any more people."

Dan had bludgeoned his way to victory and became a big attraction with his aggression and natural charisma. The only problem was his dedication to training was not at the same level.

Lined up for a money-spinning fight with Bugner, he took a warm-up fight and lost to American Morris Jackson. A further defeat to another American, Pat Duncan, was followed by the loss of his British and Commonwealth titles to Bunny Johnson.

In the latter stages of his career, he was coached by Belfast coach John Breen.

"Dan was a great character. He had a good career and that night against Bodell was very special for him. I just wish I could have worked with him when he was at his peak," said Breen.

Mixed success in business would follow his retirement but he will always be remembered for that rampaging title win in 1972.

Belfast Telegraph


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