Now THIS is a card from the archives. 4/2/1981, we've got a young Al Bernstein and even DUANE BOBICK on color. Antuofermo apparently had some plastic surgery done to shave his eyebrows down before this contest. In case you don't know, Vito Antuofermo was a one time middleweight champion with an all action style and an Italian fanbase. Sounds sorta familiar in some ways, doesn't it? Aldana is here to provide him with some busy work. "Busy" is one way to describe this fight, telecast from a mighty big ballroom at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago, IL. You may remember that hotel from when protestors were hosed outside of it in 1968 during the Presidential elections. I remember it because my wife and I stayed there a couple years back - not a terrible place, had some really cool public spaces (the ballroom used for this fight had an enormous wedding that evening), and historical exhibits about itself. That stay was also memorable because I vomited in the toilet of our room and my wife got a horrendous nosebleed the next morning. I digress. THE FIGHT.
One thing that is really apparent fast is how much larger Aldana is. Antuofermo has to get rough to try to get his way, and boy does it ever get rough. There's a ton of headbutts, wrestling, and wild action in the first three minutes. Aldana lands a hard right hand that drops Antuofermo to a single knee and ends up scored as a knockdown, though it takes the ref almost ten seconds of action to start an 8 count (which he doesn't finish!) Later in the round, Antuofermo is charged with another knockdown after being headbutted squarely in the skull. Bad call by the ref there. The dirty action continues with mauling clinches, low blows, and punches on the break - all of those happen multiple times in pretty much every round.
Clear as day is the fact that Antuofermo is pissed about this fight and how its going. Aldana and his wild brawling style were effective early on, but he's got his mouth wide open by the end of the 4th round. That kind of activity will wear on anyone, and Aldana seems ill prepared to deal with a long fight. Antuofermo just keeps up the pressure, marching forward, trying to break Aldana. And Aldana's reaction seems to just keep swinging his head and wildly grappling. While this is all going on, the announcers are making sure to tell us that the ref is a guy known for letting fights go inside. If that wasn't totally obvious given the near muay thai level of clinchwork happening here, I'd call that real insight.
The brawl continues and continues and continues. Vito is doing by far the better work throughout this fight, but Aldana isn't getting docked or having any penalty offered for the absolute foul fest that was taking place. Many, many fighter have been DQed for less. Cuts on the forehead, scalp, and around the eyes hampered Antuofermo further, but did not deter him from his quest to win. He comprehensively outpunched Aldana in pretty much every round of the fight, and even after being so badly hurt in round 1 with a variety of legal and non-legal strikes, was deserving of a wide decision. Aldana did very little to inspire any sympathy in this fight, fouling, fouling, and fouling again. While Aldana did come out red hot for a short period in round 10, Antuofermo still won the round with superior workrate and clean punching. He'd go on to win a unanimous decision, and earn another shot at the middleweight title held by Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Aldana does nothing, loses a lot and disappears.
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