1979-11-30 Vito Antuofermo drew 15 Marvin Hagler, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD

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1979-11-30 Vito Antuofermo drew 15 Marvin Hagler, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WORLD. Referee: Mills Lane. Scorecards: 144-142, 141-145, 143-143. With a six-inch-reach advantage, Hagler (158½), who was the sharper puncher of the two, was cutting the champion up badly at range although unable to make it count in the long term. In what was an exciting affair, Antuofermo (158½) began to come through strongly from the eighth, bulling his way past Hagler’s southpaw defences and slugging away to take the latter completely out of his stride. Antuofermo continued where he left off in the ninth, and despite Hagler wobbling him in the 11th he was punching it out with his challenger in the 12th. The last three rounds swung backwards and forwards, but in a grandstand finish, Antuofermo, carrying a multitude of cuts to his face, fought Hagler to a standstill in the final session. Hagler, who suffered a cut over the right eye in the 14th, felt that he was extremely unlucky not to have won.

Even though there was a lot of activity to promote a return immediately following the fight, the WBC stated that Antuofermo’s next defence had to be against Alan Minter. Minter had lost six of 43 fights, all through cuts, but had battled through to win British and European titles before relinquishing them to concentrate on a world title challenge. Three British title wins over Kevin Finnegan proved his class while other men cast aside included Frank Reiche, Tony Licata, Sugar Ray Seales, Emile Griffith, Gratien Tonna, Rudy Robles and Monty Betham. A hard-punching southpaw with good skills to match, he had also overcome the shock of Angelo Jacopucci passing away following a contest for the vacant European title.