Jürgen Blin, Who Went 7 Rounds Against Ali, Dies at 79

Jürgen Blin, Who Went 7 Rounds Against Ali, Dies at 79

Entering the Zurich arena, Ali raised an index finger to the crowd, predicting a victory in the first round. But Blin quickly went on the offensive, attacking his opponent with jabs to the face in the first three rounds, much to the crowd’s surprise. Ali rallied, however, and in the seventh round, with a powerful overhand right, he sent Blin to the canvas, leaving him unable to get back up.

Blin later said his weight had tempered his rise in the boxing world: At under 200 pounds he was too light to be effective in the heavyweight division. In an interview with Stern magazine in 2008, he said: “That was my shortcoming. I was always much too light. My opponents sometimes weighed 40 pounds more.”

He retired after a brutal K.O. loss to Ron Lyle in Denver in the second round in October 1973 and soon opened his Hamburg pub, where a photograph from the Ali fight overlooked the scene. He ran the establishment until 2013.

In addition to his son Jörg, Blin, whose marriage ended in divorce, is survived by another son, Frank; three grandchildren; and his partner, Heidi Arinka. A third son, Knut, who was also a boxer, died by suicide in 2004 after suffering severe mental illness.

One of Blin’s grandchildren, Joscha Blin, started his own professional fighting career late last year.

At 77, Blin reached another high point in his life, only to see it tempered by loss: He won the equivalent of roughly $2 million in a state lottery, according to Jörg Blin. But the elder Blin seems to have told too many people about it: Months after the win, burglars broke into his house and absconded with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.

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