Alan Minter in 1980 (Part II)

Alan Minter gets the better of an exchange with Vito Antuofermo in their Wembley rematch.


After snatching the middleweight championship from the clutches of Vito Antuofermo on March 16, 1980, in Las Vegas, Alan Minter returned home a conquering hero. Yet the manner of victory–a contentious split points verdict–left Minter’s claim to the title hotly disputed by his defeated foe. Antuofermo demanded a return clash, and Minter, confident in his ability to better his previous performance, was only happy to oblige. They met for the rematch on June 28, at Empire Pool in Wembley.

Featured image courtesy of Boxing News


The Arrangements:

“Both sides have agreed to the fight.” – Bob Arum (Reuters) April 7, 1980

“Britain’s Alan Minter has agreed to defend his world middleweight championship against Vito Antuofermo, the man he defeated for the title in Las Vegas last month. Promoter Bob Arum said yesterday the fight would take place in America in June.” – Daily Mirror, April 8

“We have resisted the temptation of several larger money offers to go to America for this fight. We felt we owed it to our fans to have this first defense at home where they can see us.” – Doug Bidwell, Minter’s manager (Daily Express), April 11

“Britain’s Alan Minter, undisputed world middleweight champion, will meet Vito Antuofermo in a title bout in London’s Wembley Arena June 28. Minter won the title from Antuofermo, Brooklyn-based boxer, on a split decision six weeks ago.” – United Press International, April 28

“Although the rematch is natural in view of American dissent, and easily sold, it’s also a wise management move for Minter to take the fight, as it’s relatively safe for him.  The real danger to Minter is shaven-headed Marvin Hagler, the Brockon southpaw, whom Antuofermo held to a lucky draw.” – Tim Mo, Boxing News, Jun 27

Pre-Fight Chatter:


The Officiating…

“Former middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo said Friday he would refuse to fight Alan Minter of England if there is an English judge or referee for their rematch.” – Associated Press

“I expect him to try to butt me, but I do not think he would get away with it here.” – Minter (Associated Press)

Minter vs Antuofermo II Program

“Why should I come in with my head? I have never been in a fight to butt someone. I think Minter is saying that because he wants the referee to worry when I am working inside.” – Antuofermo, (Associated Press)

“All I ask is the referee will let me do my work inside. I have checked and re-checked the film of our last fight. Minter was complaining I butted and yet my hands were working away all the time inside.” – Antuofermo (Daily Express)

“All we want is a referee who’ll abide by the rules. If they’re not going to abide by the rules, there’s no need for a referee. Vito holds with one hand and hits with the other and he hits with his elbows. If he does the same in this fight, I hope the referee breaks them up again.” – Doug Bidwell (New York Times)

“Who are the referee and judges?” – Antuofermo

“Referee Octavio Meyran (Mexico). Judges Kurt Halbach (West Germany) and Karel Klijnoot (Holland)” – Micky Duff

“That’s the best news I heard all day. The officials are neutral. That’s all we ask.” – Tony Carione

- Daily Express


The Rivalry…

“Minter just ran from me. He is not a man. He is a pussycat. He sneaked in through the kitchen and stole the cream…That pussycat is an insult to the title. He can’t punch.” – Vito Antuofermo (Daily Mirror)

“Antuofermo should spend more time concentrating on boxing than moaning. I wonder what his excuses will be when I stop him at Wembley on Saturday – we’ll see who the pussycat is then.” – Alan Minter (Daily Mirror)

“It’s obvious Antuofermo’s people are goading Alan into a war. And don’t bet against Alan when it comes to the hard game.” – Doug Bidwell (Associated Press)

“I’ve got to be careful of my own crowd, careful not to let them work me up.” - Minter (Sports Illustrated)

“The fight will not last the distance; I have come here to get my title back and I will be leaving with it.” – Antuofermo (Associated Press)

“Antuofermo is in for a few surprises. Alan plans to be more aggressive–with the proper precautions. It will a stoppage this time with no arguments.” – Bidwell (Daily Express)

“I’m going to be more positive this time. I never busted Vito up until the ninth round. This time, I can’t see the fight going 15.” – Minter (New York Times)

“I wish there were no rounds, no bells, nothing but just fighting until one man falls.” – Antuofermo (Daily Express)

Empire Pool, Wembley, June 28, 1980:

“From the start, Antuofermo—heavily mustached, unshaven for days, barrel-chested, a smaller Rocky Marciano—threw wild punches and charged in low. Which was absolutely no surprise. And Minter did not retreat. He stood up, crashing rights into a face that Antuofermo seemed uninterested in protecting. Then Minter would follow the jabs with left crosses. Authoritative and aggressive, Minter guided those jabs with cold eyes. In 51 fights Antuofermo had been stopped only twice, but just before the end of Round 1 one of Minter’s combinations cut him over the nose, a little toward the right eyebrow. Already Antuofermo was in trouble.” – Clive Gammon, Sports Illustrated

“The second saw the one-way traffic into the challenger’s craggy features continue. His left eyebrow was cut with punches now and then a left to the head shook him again. By the middle of the round he was bleeding heavily, with blood smeared over his face. His big, big heart made him fight on regardless.” – Tim Mo, Boxing News

“Minter is absolutely staring at him, cold eyed. He’s determined to give him a lesson… Three overwhelming rounds for Minter. How much longer can this man go through a fight cut like this? The referee is coming back to have a look again, and he’s walked away quickly, satisfied again. What they’re doing is they’re just wiping the blood away, but they’re not managing to staunch the flow of blood. This can only be a matter of time, surely.” – Harry Carpenter, ITV

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“In the second, Antuofermo suffered a cut above the bridge of his nose, in the third and fourth there were more wounds around the eyebrows from which he bled profusely.  His offering on the boxing side was no more than to come charging in trying to get to Minter with body shots.” – United Press International

“I know it sounds like a well-worn record, but Antuofermo is bleeding again. And if anything, it looks a bit worse on the left-hand side than it was before… And really Antuofermo’s face is in an awful state, and I don’t really see the point now or the humanity in letting it go much futher. He is bleeding all around his eyes, and it really is a horrible sight and he shouldn’t be allowed to undergo this sort of suffering, even for a world title. He really is too badly cut for words, and this fight must, must, be stopped.” – Carpenter, 6th round

“The 26-year-old Minter, often sneering at his opponent, nimbly sidestepped Antuofermo’s punches and landed combination after combination… Antuofermo could not duck what he could not see.” – Katz, New York Times

“Well, I’ve seen a few thousands fights over the years, and I don’t mind admitting this is beginning to turn my stomach a bit. There’s too much blood…he’s tearing the man’s face to bits.” – Carpenter, ITV

“…but suddenly there was a sensation as the referee led Antuofermo to the corner for the British Boxing Board of Control doctor to look at his damaged eye. When Dr. Adrian Whiteson allowed the bloodshed to continue, Minter slammed in lefts and rights and forced Antuofermo back on the ropes to win the round.” – Alan Hoby, Sunday Express

That’s enough, I’m going to stop it. – Carione

Let me try one more round. – Antuofermo

- end of the 7th round

A bloodied Antuofermo presses on

“Antuofermo said that he could not see out of either eye in the eighth. He kept moving forward, but his blind rushes were picked off by the sidestepping Minter even easier than before. The problem, hwoever, was not so much Antuofermo’s sight as it was Minter’s blinding punches.” – Katz, New York Times

 Image courtesy of Boxing News

“This extraordinarily courageous man, from Brooklyn via Italy, Antuofermo, keeps on coming in, trying to do something, but unless he gets very very lucky, it looks like a hopeless quest…once again, he trudges back to the corner, and once again Howie Albert goes to work, pouring water over those damaged eyes, and they are calling the referee over this time, and this might be the end…” – Carpenter, end of the 8th round

The Result:

“Alan Minter is still undisputed middleweight champion of the world. At the end of the eighth round at Wembley, with crimson trickles of blood running down his ravaged face, Vito Antuofermo’s seconds called over referee Octavio Meyran of Mexico to end the carnage. Even this tough little warrior had taken all the punishment he could stand.” – Hoby, Sunday Express

The Reaction:

“The post-fight party was more testing than the fight.” - Minter (Associated Press)

“OK, he did hurt me with a couple of body shots, but don’t forget he ain’t a bad fighter…” - Minter (Daily Mirror)

“The first fight was even. The second — a rout.” – Arum (Daily Express)

“I could have gone 15 rounds, but what was the point.” – Antuofermo (New York Times)

Boxing News – July 4, 1980

“It was a shame the fight was stopped…I had been working high up on his head with my punches. I just didn’t seem to be able to miss him. And I was just planning to lower my sights onto his jaw. I think I would have stopped him in another two or three rounds.” – Minter (Daily Express)

“He had several cuts, but none of them are deep.” – Dr. Adrian Whiteson (United Press International)

“There were in fact, four (cuts), and according to one of his seconds, the one which finally brought the fight to an end was over the right eyelid which occurred two rounds before the end.” – United Press International

“I’ve done worse to myself shaving. You don’t stop a world title fight for cuts like that.” - Minter (Daily Mirror)

In Closing:

“Minter is a far better champion than I said he was. I have no complaints. Now I must consider my future.” - Antuofermo (Daily Mirror)

“If Minter wants the Hagler fight, it can be delivered immediately.” - Arum (Associated Press)

“I’ll fight the leading contenders.  If Hagler is the No. 1 contender, I sincerely want to meet him.” - Minter (Associated Press)

“Minter has got a heck of a chance against Hagler.  If he fights the way he fought last night, he will win.  He never let Vito get near him.” – Carione (Associated Press)

“I thought Hagler would cut him up. But the way the fought me tonight, I got to have doubts about that.” - Antuofermo (New York Times)

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