Boxing legend Alan Minter, the hard-as-nails Englishman nicknamed ‘Boom Boom’ who overcame cuts, adversity and tragedy to claim a world title, dies aged 69 after cancer fight
- Former world middleweight champion Alan Minter has died at the age of 69
- The former Olympic medallist died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer
- Minter also won British and European middleweight championships in his career
- He won the world title from Italian-American Vito Antuofermo in March 1980
- Minter lost the title to Marvin Hagler which led to a riot at Wembley Arena
- British boxing fans threw beer bottles and cans in anger of Minter losing the title
Alan Minter has lost on cuts for the last time. There is no coming back from the cancer which got the better of him yesterday.
Only in our memories of the hard-as-nails Englishman, who famously won, retained and then lost the undisputed middleweight championship of the world in the space of six thrilling months, 30 years ago this summer.
Minter has not quite made it to the September 27 anniversary of the night at Wembley when he lost to the great Marvin Hagler the titles he had won earlier that year in Las Vegas.
British boxing legend Alan Minter has died at the age of 69 after a lengthy battle with cancer
Had he lived these two more weeks or so, his recollections would have been painfully blurred by the blood which flowed from the gashes inflicted on his face by Hagler in seven minutes and 45 seconds of brutal punishment.
They would also have been clouded by how the racism which prevailed in some quarters of this country in the 1980s showed its ugly face as their man lost.
Not that Minter would have flinched from any memory of the landmark year of his life.
Minter who was born in Crawley in 1951 was one of the biggest names in British sport
He treated controversy as dismissively as he disposed of most of his opponents. As good as his nickname Boom Boom.
There were no frills with our Alan from Crawley. What you saw was what you got. And what you got was more than good enough for the majority of his rivals and for those of us who loved watching him give his all. In the epic domestic trilogy of bloody 15-rounders with Kevin Finnegan, all won as he made his name at home. Victory over the legendary Emile Griffith. The winning of British and European titles.
Minter was the hero of the ordinary classes and proud to be one of the lads. Drinks in the bar shared as happily as punches in the ring.
How great it was when he won the world title. Even greater that he did it by becoming the first Englishman in more than half a century to do so in the US.
Minter (pictured last year) retired in 1981 at the age of 40 with a win record of 39-9
Greatest of all that he beat a legend. Vito Antuofermo was not only the pride of Italy but the middleweight king of the world when he came to the ring at Caesars Palace on March 16, 1980.
Minter entered to herald the biggest of his controversies, thus far.
It went to a split decision. One card to the Italian and one to Minter seems fair enough.
But English referee Roland Dakin scoring 13 of the 15 rounds to his countryman raised the roof.
Minter with actress Diana Dors at The Thomas and Beckett gym in The Old Kent Road
Three months later, Minter set about erasing any question marks by stopping Antuofermo in seven at Wembley. Then another three months and Hagler headed for that same arena.
In the build-up, Minter was quoted as saying: ‘I don’t intend losing my title to a black man.’ Later he claimed he said ‘that black man’. Either way, even in those days, it was a shocking remark. Hagler’s clenched-teeth response: ‘I will give my answer in Wembley.’
That he did. Oddly, in hindsight, to the surprise of many. Although Hagler was being touted as the next big thing in America, word had barely reached these shores and Minter was the favourite.
The crowd poured in, six packs at the ready, flags of the Union and St George flying, confident of an exultant night out.
One memorable fight was a defeat by Marvin Hagler which led to a riot at Wembley Arena
From the first minute it became clear that was not to be. Minter was cut above an eye. The first of many more such wounds to come, so accurate and incisive were Hagler’s punches in the less-than-three rounds it took him to deliver his message.
What followed was described by TV commentator Harry Carpenter as ‘the low point of my many years at the British ringside’.
American boxer Marvin Hagler leaving the ring with a police escort after his fight with Minter
Bottles rained down. Brawls broke out. All to a soundtrack of racist abuse. Antuofermo rose from his seat to knock out a drunk who threw a punch at him. Hagler had to be escorted to safety.
Minter retired after just three more fights. A warrior whose pride carried him to glory.
A man who never flinched from fighting the very best.
Hagler had beer bottles and cans thrown at him following the third-round stoppage victory
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