Wembley Arena, London, England – September 27, 1980.
It was on this day that a great fighter’s hard-earned coronation as world middleweight champion was overshadowed by events that led to the fight being referred to as one that “shamed British boxing”. Marvin Hagler, the fearsome shaven-headed southpaw from Brockton, Massachusetts, challenged British hero Alan Minter for the world crown. There was controversy before the fight, with Minter, who was making the second defence of his belt, infamously declaring how “no black man will ever take my title”. And there was controversy in the form of wickedly ugly scenes in the ring after the fight. If you could call it a fight. A bloody slaughter might be a more accurate description of the 7-minutes and 45-seconds the bout lasted.
Hagler, hungry (see starving) and still smarting over “being robbed” in his 1979 challenge of then-champion Vito Antuofermo, the fight being ruled a draw at the conclusion of 15 gruelling rounds, was a slight underdog against Minter and he was determined to smash his way to the title this time. Minter, who had won the title by decisioning Vito, and had stopped him in his first title defence, had no idea what was in store for him against his ravenous challenger.