Alexis Argüello

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Alexis Argüello
Alexis Argüello.jpg
Statistics
Nickname(s) El Flaco Explosivo
("The Explosive Thin Man")
El Caballero del Ring
("The Ring's Gentleman")
Rated at Featherweight
Super Featherweight
Lightweight
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Reach 72 in (183 cm)
Nationality  Nicaraguan
Born (1952-04-19)April 19, 1952
Managua, Nicaragua
Died July 1, 2009(2009-07-01) (aged 57)
Managua, Nicaragua
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 96
Wins 88
Wins by KO 70
Losses 8

Alexis Argüello (April 19, 1952 – July 1, 2009), also known by the stage name El Flaco Explosivo (lit. "The Explosive Thin Man"), was a Nicaraguan professional boxer and politician. As a boxer he was a three-time world champion, and has regularly been cited as one of the greatest fighters of his era, having never lost any of his world titles in the ring, instead relinquishing them each time in pursuit of titles in higher weight classes. His trainer was Lupe Sanchez. After his retirement from boxing, Argüello became active in Nicaraguan politics and in November 2008 he was elected mayor of Managua, the nation's capital city. He died on July 1, 2009.

Arguello is ranked 20th on Ring magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all-time and was voted by the Associated Press in 1999 as the #1 junior lightweight of the 20th century.[1]

Boxing career[edit]

"The Explosive Thin Man" suffered an unavenged first round TKO loss in his 1968 professional debut, but then won 36 of his next 38 bouts, which then led him to a world Featherweight championship bout against experienced WBA champion Ernesto Marcel of Panama in Panama. The young challenger lost a 15-round unanimous decision in Marcel's retirement bout.

Undaunted, Argüello began another streak of wins, and found himself in the ring with a world champion again, this time challenging Marcel's successor to the throne, Mexican world champion Rubén Olivares in Los Angeles. After Olivares built a small lead on the judges' scorecards, Argüello and Olivares landed simultaneous left hooks in round thirteen. Olivares's left hand caused a visible pain expression on Argüello's face, but Argüello's left hand caused Olivares to crash hard against the canvas. A few seconds later, Argüello was the new Featherweight champion of the world.

Argüello defended this title a few times, then moved up in weight to challenge world Junior Lightweight champion Alfredo Escalera in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in what has been nicknamed The Bloody Battle of Bayamon by many. Escalera had been a busy champion with ten defenses, and he had dethroned Kuniaki Shibata in 2 rounds in Tokyo. In what some experts (including The Ring writers) consider one of the most brutal fights in history, Escalera had his eye, mouth and nose broken early, but was rallying back in the scorecards when Argüello finished him, once again in the thirteenth round.

His reign at Junior Lightweight saw him fend off the challenges of Escalera in a rematch held at Rimini, Italy, as well as former and future world champion Bobby Chacon, future two time world champion Rafael "Bazooka" Limón, Ruben Castillo, future champion Rolando Navarrete, and Diego Alcalá, beaten in only one round.

Argüello suffered many cuts around his face during his second victory against Escalera. The on-site doctor wanted him hospitalized, but Argüello had a flight to catch from Rome the next day to return to Nicaragua, and he boarded a train from Rimini. The doctor decided to travel with Argüello, and performed plastic surgery on Argüello's cuts with Argüello awake.

Argüello then moved up in weight again, and this time he had to go to London, England, to challenge world Lightweight champion Jim Watt. Watt lasted fifteen rounds, but the judges gave Argüello a unanimous 15-round decision, thus making him only the sixth boxer to win world titles in 3 divisions, and the second Latin American (after Wilfred Benítez had become the first by beating Maurice Hope one month before) to do it. He had to face some less known challengers in this division, one exception being the famous prospect Ray Mancini (known as "Boom Boom" Mancini) who would later be the subject of a made for television movie. Mancini and Argüello engaged in a fight that was later showcased in a boxing video of the best fights of the 1980s, with Argüello prevailing by stoppage when he decked Mancini in round 14. This fight was referenced in the Warren Zevon song "Boom Boom Mancini".

Battles with Aaron Pryor[edit]

After defeating James 'Bubba' Busceme by sixth round stoppage, Argüello decided to move up in weight class time again, and on November 12, 1982, he tried to become the first world champion in 4 different categories, meeting the heavier and future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Pryor, in what was billed as The Battle of the Champions in Miami, Florida. Argüello was stopped in the 14th round. The fight sparked controversy however, because Pryor's trainer, Panama Lewis, introduced a second water bottle which he described as "the bottle I mixed" after round 13, leading to speculation that the bottle was tainted. The Florida State Boxing Commission failed to administer a post-fight urinalysis, adding to speculation that the bottle contained an unsanctioned substance.[2][3] It was later revealed in an interview with former Lewis-trained boxer Luis Resto that Lewis would break apart antihistamine pills used to treat asthma and pour the medicine into the water, giving Lewis's fighter greater lung capacity in the later rounds of a fight.[4][5][6] Others say that there was a mixture of cocaine, honey and orange juice in the bottle. [7]

A rematch was ordered. This time, in Las Vegas, Arguello was KO-ed in the tenth, and stated after the fight "I'm not going to fight anymore. I quit." But he later returned to the ring for financial reasons.

Comeback and post-retirement[edit]

During the 1980s Argüello briefly fought with the Contras in his native Nicaragua, but after a few months in the jungle he retired from the war.[8] He then attempted several comebacks into boxing during the late 1980s and early 1990s and had some success, most notably a fourth round stoppage of former World Junior Welterweight Champion Billy Costello in a 1986 televised bout that put him in a position for another shot at the Junior Welterweight title. He retired for good in 1995 with a record of 82 wins, 8 losses, and 65 KO's, along with the recognition of being one of the sports most universally respected fighters among fans, experts, and boxers.

Argüello was elected to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1992. In 2008 he was honored by being selected as Nicaragua's flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.[9]

Argüello was an avid breeder of cats, and had several articles published in Cat Fancy magazine throughout the 1990s.

He remained very friendly with his old rival Aaron Pryor, and the pair saw each other several times a year until Argüello's death.

Political career[edit]

Argüello was actively involved in Nicaraguan politics with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)--the same party against whom he took up arms in the 1980s—and in 2004 was elected vice-mayor of Managua. Amid accusations of vote-rigging Argüello narrowly won the mayoral election in Managua on November 9, 2008[10] elections against the candidate of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, Eduardo Montealegre, who had come second to Daniel Ortega in the 2006 presidential election. Argüello's margin of victory was narrow as he attained just 51.30% of the vote.[11]

Death[edit]

Memorial to Alexis Argüello in Managua

Argüello died around 1 a.m. local time on July 1, 2009, after allegedly shooting himself through the heart in Managua, according to a report from Channel 8 national television. Reports now say there could have been some foul play involved.

The national police have confirmed the death, but are still awaiting the results of the autopsy.[12][13]

Those close to Argüello are saying he was becoming progressively disenchanted with the Ortegistas and the Sandinista government, and was planning an imminent departure from the Sandinista political pahttp://lisa-olson.fanhouse.com/2009/08/31/son-in-fight-of-alexis-arguellos-life/

Professional boxing record[edit]

88 Wins (70 Knockouts), 8 Defeats (4 Knockout), 0 Draws[14]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss 88–8 United States Scott Walker UD 10 1995-01-21 United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 88–7 United States Jorge Palomares MD 10 1994-08-27 United States Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 87–7 United States Billy Costello TKO 4 (10), 1:42 1986-02-09 United States Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada
Win 86–7 United States Pat Jefferson TKO 5 (10), 2:47 1985-10-25 United States Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska
Loss 85–7 United States Aaron Pryor KO 10 (15), 1:48 1983-09-09 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada For The Ring & WBA World Light Welterweight titles.
Win 85–6 Trinidad and Tobago Claude Noel TKO 3 (10), 0:37 1983-04-24 United States Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 84–6 Dominican Republic Vilomar Fernandez UD 10 1983-02-26 United States Freeman Coliseum San Antonio, Texas
Loss 83–6 United States Aaron Pryor TKO 14 (15), 1:06 1982-11-12 United States Orange Bowl Stadium Miami, Florida For The Ring & WBA World Light Welterweight titles.
Proclaimed the "Fight of the Decade" by The Ring Magazine.
Win 83–5 United States Kevin Rooney KO 2 (10), 3:07 1982-07-31 United States Bally's Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 82–5 United States Andrew Ganigan KO 5 (15), 3:09 1982-05-22 United States The Aladdin Las Vegas, Nevada Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.
Win 81–5 United States James Busceme TKO 6 (15), 2:35 1982-02-13 United States Beaumont Civic Center Beaumont, Texas Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.
Win 80–5 United States Roberto Elizondo KO 7 (15), 3:07 1981-11-21 United States Bally's Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.
Win 79–5 United States Ray Mancini TKO 14 (15), 1:44 1981-10-03 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, Nevada Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.
Win 78–5 Scotland Jim Watt UD 15 1981-06-20 England Empire Pool Wembley, London Won The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.
Win 77–5 United States Robert Vasquez TKO 3 (10), 2:55 1981-02-07 United States Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 76–5 Mexico José Luis Ramírez SD 10 1980-11-14 United States Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida
Win 75–5 Uganda Cornelius Boza Edwards TKO 8 (10) 1980-08-09 United States Superstar Theatre, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 74–5 Philippines Rolando Navarrete TKO 5 (15) 1980-04-27 Puerto Rico Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 73–5 United States Gerald Hayes UD 10 1980-03-31 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 72–5 United States Ruben Castillo TKO 11 (15), 2:03 1980-01-20 United States Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 71–5 United States Bobby Chacon TKO 7 (15) 1979-11-16 United States Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 70–5 Mexico Rafael Limón TKO 11 (15), 1:40 1979-07-08 United States Felt Forum, New York City, New York Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 69–5 Puerto Rico Alfredo Escalera KO 13 (15), 1:24 1979-02-04 Italy Sports Palace, Rimini, Emilia Romagna Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 68–5 United States Arturo Leon UD 15 1978-11-10 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Loss 67–5 Dominican Republic Vilomar Fernandez MD 10 1978-07-26 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Win 67–4 Panama Diego Alcala KO 1 (15), 1:56 1978-06-03 Puerto Rico Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 66–4 Philippines Rey Tam TKO 5 (15), 1:54 1978-04-29 United States Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 65–4 El Salvador Mario Mendez TKO 3 (10) 1978-03-25 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 64–4 Puerto Rico Alfredo Escalera TKO 13 (15), 2:56 1978-01-28 Puerto Rico Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, San Juan Won WBC World Super Featherweight title.
Win 63–4 Puerto Rico Enrique Solis KO 5 1977-12-18 Nicaragua Managua
Win 62–4 United States Jerome Artis TKO 2 (10) 1977-09-29 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Win 61–4 Puerto Rico Benjamin Ortiz UD 10 1977-08-27 Puerto Rico Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey
Win 60–4 Dominican Republic José Fernández TKO 1 (10), 2:06 1977-08-03 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Win 59–4 Dominican Republic Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez TKO 4 (10) 1977-06-22 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Win 58–4 Ecuador Alberto Herrera KO 1 (10) 1977-05-14 Nicaragua Managua
Win 57–4 Chile Godfrey Stevens KO 2 (10) 1977-02-19 Nicaragua Managua
Win 56–4 Mexico Salvador Torres KO 3 (15), 1:25 1976-06-19 United States Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California Retained The Ring & WBA World Featherweight titles.
Win 55–4 Dominican Republic Modesto Concepcion KO 2 (10) 1976-04-10 Nicaragua Managua
Win 54–4 Mexico José Torres SD 10 1976-02-01 Mexico Mexicali, Baja California
Win 53–4 Mexico Saul Montana KO 3 1975-12-20 Nicaragua Managua
Win 52–4 Japan Royal Kobayashi KO 5 (15), 2:47 1975-10-12 Japan Kokugikan, Tokyo Retained The Ring & WBA World Featherweight titles.
Win 51–4 Mexico Rosalio Muro KO 2 (10), 2:54 1975-07-18 United States Cow Palace, Daly City, California
Win 50–4 Panama Rigoberto Riasco TKO 2 (15), 2:00 1975-05-31 Nicaragua Estadio Flor de Cana, Granada Retained WBA & Won vacant The Ring World Featherweight titles.
Win 49–4 Venezuela Leonel Hernández TKO 8 (15) 1975-03-15 Venezuela Poliedro de Caracas, Caracas Retained WBA World Featherweight title.
Win 48–4 El Salvador Oscar Aparicio UD 10 1975-02-08 El Salvador Nuevo Poliedro, San Salvador
Win 47–4 Mexico Rubén Olivares KO 13 (15), 1:20 1974-11-23 United States Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California Won WBA World Featherweight title.
Win 46–4 Colombia Otoniel Martinez KO 1 1974-09-21 Nicaragua Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya
Win 45–4 El Salvador Oscar Aparicio UD 12 1974-08-24 Nicaragua Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya
Win 44–4 Canada Art Hafey UD 12 1974-05-18 Nicaragua Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya
Win 43–4 Mexico Enrique Garcia KO 3 1974-04-27 Nicaragua Arena Kennedy, Managua
Loss 42–4 Panama Ernesto Marcel UD 15 1974-02-16 Panama Gimnasio Nuevo Panama,, Panama City For WBA World Featherweight title.
Win 42–3 Mexico Raul Martinez Mora KO 1 1974-01-12 Nicaragua Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya
Win 41–3 Cuba José Legrá KO 1 (10) 1973-11-24 Nicaragua Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Obituaries[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Rubén Olivares
WBA Featherweight Champion
November 23, 1974–1977
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Rafael Ortega
Vacant
Title last held by
Clemente Sanchez
The Ring Featherweight Champion
May 31, 1975 - June 20, 1977
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Danny Lopez
Preceded by
Alfredo Escalera
WBC Super Featherweight Champion
January 28, 1978–1980
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Edwin Rosario
Preceded by
Jim Watt
WBC Lightweight Champion
June 20, 1981–1983
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Edwin Rosario
The Ring Lightweight Champion
June 20, 1981 – February 1983
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Julio César Chávez