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Pat Putnam
December 10, 1979
For Mills Lane, who refereed the brawling, bloody middleweight title fight which preceded the Leonard-Benitez bout at Caesars Palace, the outcome was as apparent as the many cuts on Vito Antuofermo's craggy face. Moving quickly to the corner of Marvin Hagler, Mills directed the challenger to turn and face the ABC-TV cameras. "Congratulations," Mills murmured. "Now stay facing this way until they announce the decision and I raise your arm."
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December 10, 1979

When A Tie Is Better Than Kissing Your Sister

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As the last round began, both men rushed across the ring, meeting halfway, and began swinging. Three minutes later they were still swinging. It was a cruel, bloody combat, and it was awesome.

Hardly had the decision been announced when Bob Arum, the Top Rank promoter, standing at ringside, shouted that there would be an immediate rematch, much to the dismay of the WBC and the WBA—and of Alan Minter, the English southpaw who had been promised the next title fight no matter who won in Las Vegas.

"The WBC will not be led by promoters," countered Jos� Sulaim�n, the WBC president. "We will have our convention in a week, and we will talk about it. There is no doubt Hagler deserves another chance. But after Minter."

At first, Dr. Elias Cordoba, the WBA ratings chairman and the power behind the scenes, agreed. But later, after reflection and a conference with Arum, he changed his mind and said the WBA would order an immediate rematch.

Which leaves Antuofermo as the man in the middle. He'll have to make a choice: fight Minter for the WBC or Hagler for the WBA. He'll make one group happy; the other group will strip him of its version of the title.

Through no fault of his own, Antuofermo soon will be half a world champion. That is the unkindest cut of all.

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