Alan Minter – A Champion Who Came Up The Hard Way
By: Sean Crose
The world of boxing lost one of its notable members this week when Alan Minter passed away from cancer at the too young age of 69. “Alan Minter RIP,” tweeted fellow Englishman and former WBC heavyweight champion Frank Bruno. “Alan and I worked together many times a great boxer in his day I would ask people to look at the old footage of him fighting a great boxer a sad day for British Boxing RIP ‘Boom Boom.’”
Other boxing notables weighed in on the loss of the former middleweight champ. “Just heard the very sad news,” three time champion Ricky Hatton tweeted, “that our boxing family has lost one of our own in former world champion alan minter. You’ll always be a brutish boxing legend and a gentleman alan. My love and very best wishes go out to Ross and the whole minter family at this time. Ricky. X”
Born in the town of Crawley, a community with roots back to prehistoric times, Minter was the son a plasterer who earned a shot to represent his country in the 1972 Munich Olympic games. Minter picked up a bronze medal for his efforts, then began his professional career that very autumn. Eight years, 43 fights, and numerous losses later, Minter won the WBC and WBA middleweight titles – the only major belts at the time – by besting defending champion Vito Antuofermo by split decision in Las Vegas. Minter defeated Antuofermo again a few months later, this time in England at the famed Wembley Stadium.
Unfortunately for Minter, his title reign wouldn’t last for long. His next fight was against a longtime American challenger named Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Although he was fighting once again at Wembley, Minter couldn’t best the future star. The bout ended up being stopped in the third round. Afterwards, fans pelted the ring with beer cans, turning Hagler’s crowning achievement into an ugly scene.
Minter only fought three times after the loss to Hagler, besting Ernie Singletary the following March, then losing to the talented Mustafa Hamsho in June, then Tony Sibson in September. Still, in a feat almost unheard of by today’s standards, Minter could boast in retirement of having fought three times against two top drawer opponents, Antuofermo and Hagler, in the course of six months and eleven days. Minter was unquestionably a true tough guy.
“Minter was a dogged man in a hard era,” writes the BBC’s Luke Ready. “At the start of 1970, not one British boxer held a world title. They were tough to come by and even the British and European belts often only came along after one had paid their dues.”
Minter not only made his mark on the sport – he did it the only way he was able to – the hard way.