NEWRY’S Danny McAlinden, probably the greatest heavyweight boxer Ireland has ever produced, has died.
In the early 1970’s Dan McAlinden was a streaking young heavyweight who appeared to have the makings of a world champion.
Danny was strong, aggressive and carried a solid punch. He and Joe Bugner were both making their mark on the division and a battle between the two seemed inevitable.
McAlinden turned pro in 1969 and in his second pro fight he halted future British champion Richard Dunn. This is the same Dunn who would one day meet Muhammad Ali for the world title.
Danny would win his first eleven fights by knockout before suffering his first defeat. He dropped an eight round verdict to the underrated American Jack ” The Giant ” O’ Halloran. Two fights later he drew with Ray ” Brother of Floyd ” Patterson. He also drew with Tommy Hicks a fighter he had previously beaten.
On March 8, 1971 on the under card of the classic Ali – Frazier I, Danny won a six round decision over Ali’s brother Rahman Ali. That was the start of a six fight win streak for Danny. That streak ended when the talented Larry Middleton stopped Danny in eight. Three months later Danny would crush the soft chinned Jack Bodell in two rounds to win the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
In 1973 Danny suffered a serious setback when hard punching Morris Jackson stopped him in three rounds. Up to that point Danny was being strongly considered as an opponent for new champion George Foreman’s first title defense. After the loss to Jackson Danny’s career began to unravel. In 1974 Pat Duncan outscored him. In 1975 he lost his British and Commonwealth titles to the clever Bunny Johnson in nine rounds.
Richard Dunn defeated Bunny Johnson to win the titles and in November of 1975 Danny met Dunn in an attempt to regain them. This time Richard Dunn was a different fighter then the one Danny had taken out in 1969. Dunn tasted sweet revenge as he floored Danny three times in the second round to retain his titles.
In 1976 unheralded Tony Moore stopped Danny in four rounds. In 1977 Neal Malpass halted him. In 1978 Tommy Kiely took him out in six rounds. In 1979 he lost a verdict to George Scott and in 1980 he lost again to Tony Moore by decision.
Danny had his last fight in 1981 losing to Denton Ruddock in the fifth round. In all Danny had 45 fights and posted a 31-12-2 record. He did win 28 by knockout