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Jürgen Blin, who fought 7 rounds against Ali, dies at 79

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

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

He retired after a brutal knockout loss to Ron Lyle in Denver in the second round in October 1973 and soon opened his pub in Hamburg, where a photo of Ali’s fight overlooked the stage. He led the establishment until 2013.

Besides her 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, committed suicide in 2004 after suffering from serious mental illness.

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

At 77, Blin reached another high point in his life, only to see it tempered by the loss: he won the equivalent of around $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 victory, burglars broke into his house and got away with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.