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Old 07-29-2007, 02:03 AM   #16
East Side Guru
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Default Re: Antuofermo's chin?

When thinking about it, the only physical attribute Vito was born with that was suitable for boxing was his chin. He wasn't tall, didn't have long arms, probably didn't have a fast twitch muscle fiber in his body, didn't have quick arms and feet, bled easily, didn't throw straight punches, and had little punching power. He was not a handsome or glamourous looking pretty boy, like Ali or DLH. Nor did he project the boyish charm and charisma, or represent the compelling media story of a Matthew Saad Muhammad, Ray Mancini, or Bobby Chacon. Yet, in June 1979, this transplant from Italy to Brooklyn brought the Undisputed World MW Championship back to the United States for the first time since Emile Griffith lost it to Nino Benvenuti in March 1968, a triumph which resounded in both Italy and the United States.

Vito did it with toughness, heart, sheer grit and determination, along with dedicated hard work and discipline. Except for a great chin, Vito's qualities of bravery, tremendous physical strength, muscular endurance and stamina, along with the principle that the harder one works, the harder it is to surrender, are qualities within the abilities of most of us to develop for ourselves.

While the monarchist boxing press may not have cared much for somebody who was a solidly unspectacular family man (rather than a scandalously flamboyant playboy, and ultimately sordid dramatic tragedy like Carlos Monzon), rank and file boxing fans developed a strong attachment to somebody they regarded as having proved that such an achievement was within the reach of any common individual ready willing and able to put the time and effort needed into realizing such an ambitious dream. It's why the audiences at his matches usually chanted Vito's name, whenever he wasn't fighting in his opponent's back yard. (When Antuofermo made his comeback against Aldana in Chicago after his rematch loss to Minter in London, the chants of "Vito!, Vito!, Vito!" were deafening, even through the television speakers.)

Vito Antuofermo really did make the most of what athletic ability he was born with. Like Marciano and Frazier, he will always be appreciated by fight fans for having become a champion in doing so. He did his best, and his best was good enough.
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