|Nickname(s)||El Flaco Explosivo
("Skinny the Explosive")
El Caballero del Ring
("The Ring's Gentleman")
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Reach||72 in (183 cm)|
April 19, 1952|
|Died||July 1, 2009
|Wins by KO||70|
Alexis Argüello (April 19, 1952 – July 1, 2009), also known by the ring name El Flaco Explosivo (lit. "Skinny the Explosive"), was a Nicaraguan professional boxer and politician. As a boxer he was a three-weight world champion, having held the WBA featherweight title as well as the WBC super featherweight and lightweight titles. He 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. 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.
"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 expression of pain 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 successfully defended this title four 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.
After eight successful title defenses, 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
Arguello successfully defended his lightweight title four times. 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. 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. Others say that there was a mixture of cocaine, honey and orange juice in the bottle. 
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
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. 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 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.
Alexis Arguello was voted as the Greatest Junior Lightweight Ever by the Houston Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2014. The HBHOF is a voting body composed entirely of current and former fighters.
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 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.
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
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. Some reports at the time said there could have been some foul play involved, and he was killed by the highest echelons of the government.
Those close to Argüello affirmed that he was becoming progressively disenchanted with the Orteguistas and the Sandinista government, and was planning an imminent departure from the Sandinista political party.
Professional boxing record
|88 Wins (70 Knockouts), 8 Defeats (4 Knockout), 0 Draws|
|Loss||88–8||Scott Walker||UD||10||1995-01-21||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Win||88–7||Jorge Palomares||MD||10||1994-08-27||Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida|
|Win||87–7||Billy Costello||TKO||4 (10), 1:42||1986-02-09||Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada|
|Win||86–7||Pat Jefferson||TKO||5 (10), 2:47||1985-10-25||Sullivan Arena, Anchorage, Alaska|
|Loss||85–7||Aaron Pryor||KO||10 (15), 1:48||1983-09-09||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada||For The Ring & WBA World Light Welterweight titles.|
|Win||85–6||Claude Noel||TKO||3 (10), 0:37||1983-04-24||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||84–6||Vilomar Fernandez||UD||10||1983-02-26||Freeman Coliseum San Antonio, Texas|
|Loss||83–6||Aaron Pryor||TKO||14 (15), 1:06||1982-11-12||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||Kevin Rooney||KO||2 (10), 3:07||1982-07-31||Bally's Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||82–5||Andrew Ganigan||KO||5 (15), 3:09||1982-05-22||The Aladdin Las Vegas, Nevada||Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.|
|Win||81–5||James Busceme||TKO||6 (15), 2:35||1982-02-13||Beaumont Civic Center Beaumont, Texas||Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.|
|Win||80–5||Roberto Elizondo||KO||7 (15), 3:07||1981-11-21||Bally's Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey||Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.|
|Win||79–5||Ray Mancini||TKO||14 (15), 1:44||1981-10-03||Showboat Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, Nevada||Retained The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.|
|Win||78–5||Jim Watt||UD||15||1981-06-20||Empire Pool Wembley, London||Won The Ring & WBC World Lightweight titles.|
|Win||77–5||Robert Vasquez||TKO||3 (10), 2:55||1981-02-07||Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida|
|Win||76–5||José Luis Ramírez||SD||10||1980-11-14||Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida|
|Win||75–5||Cornelius Boza Edwards||TKO||8 (10)||1980-08-09||Superstar Theatre, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||74–5||Rolando Navarrete||TKO||5 (15)||1980-04-27||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||73–5||Gerald Hayes||UD||10||1980-03-31||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Win||72–5||Ruben Castillo||TKO||11 (15), 2:03||1980-01-20||Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||71–5||Bobby Chacon||TKO||7 (15)||1979-11-16||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||70–5||Rafael Limón||TKO||11 (15), 1:40||1979-07-08||Felt Forum, New York City, New York||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||69–5||Alfredo Escalera||KO||13 (15), 1:24||1979-02-04||Sports Palace, Rimini, Emilia Romagna||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||68–5||Arturo Leon||UD||15||1978-11-10||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Loss||67–5||Vilomar Fernandez||MD||10||1978-07-26||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|Win||67–4||Diego Alcala||KO||1 (15), 1:56||1978-06-03||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||66–4||Rey Tam||TKO||5 (15), 1:54||1978-04-29||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California||Retained WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||65–4||Mario Mendez||TKO||3 (10)||1978-03-25||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Win||64–4||Alfredo Escalera||TKO||13 (15), 2:56||1978-01-28||Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, San Juan||Won WBC World Super Featherweight title.|
|Win||62–4||Jerome Artis||TKO||2 (10)||1977-09-29||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|Win||61–4||Benjamin Ortiz||UD||10||1977-08-27||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey|
|Win||60–4||José Fernández||TKO||1 (10), 2:06||1977-08-03||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|Win||59–4||Ezequiel Cocoa Sanchez||TKO||4 (10)||1977-06-22||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|Win||58–4||Alberto Herrera||KO||1 (10)||1977-05-14||Managua|
|Win||57–4||Godfrey Stevens||KO||2 (10)||1977-02-19||Managua|
|Win||56–4||Salvador Torres||KO||3 (15), 1:25||1976-06-19||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California||Retained The Ring & WBA World Featherweight titles.|
|Win||55–4||Modesto Concepcion||KO||2 (10)||1976-04-10||Managua|
|Win||54–4||José Torres||SD||10||1976-02-01||Mexicali, Baja California|
|Win||52–4||Royal Kobayashi||KO||5 (15), 2:47||1975-10-12||Kokugikan, Tokyo||Retained The Ring & WBA World Featherweight titles.|
|Win||51–4||Rosalio Muro||KO||2 (10), 2:54||1975-07-18||Cow Palace, Daly City, California|
|Win||50–4||Rigoberto Riasco||TKO||2 (15), 2:00||1975-05-31||Estadio Flor de Cana, Granada||Retained WBA & Won vacant The Ring World Featherweight titles.|
|Win||49–4||Leonel Hernández||TKO||8 (15)||1975-03-15||Poliedro de Caracas, Caracas||Retained WBA World Featherweight title.|
|Win||48–4||Oscar Aparicio||UD||10||1975-02-08||Nuevo Poliedro, San Salvador|
|Win||47–4||Rubén Olivares||KO||13 (15), 1:20||1974-11-23||Inglewood Forum, Inglewood, California||Won WBA World Featherweight title.|
|Win||46–4||Otoniel Martinez||KO||1||1974-09-21||Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya|
|Win||45–4||Oscar Aparicio||UD||12||1974-08-24||Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya|
|Win||44–4||Art Hafey||UD||12||1974-05-18||Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya|
|Win||43–4||Enrique Garcia||KO||3||1974-04-27||Arena Kennedy, Managua|
|Loss||42–4||Ernesto Marcel||UD||15||1974-02-16||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama,, Panama City||For WBA World Featherweight title.|
|Win||42–3||Raul Martinez Mora||KO||1||1974-01-12||Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya|
|Win||41–3||José Legrá||KO||1 (10)||1973-11-24||Estadio Roberto Clemente, Masaya|
- Reflections on Lewis-Tyson - SecondOut.com
- Interview with Aaron Pryor - Boxing Monthly
- "Adrift in a Sea of Choices", Sports Illustrated, October 21, 1985
- "Alexis Arguello to bear Nicaraguan flag in Beijing Olympics", Xinhua, July 9, 2008
- The Independent Newspaper (London) Obituary of Alexis Argüello July 17, 2009
- "La Prensa Election Section" November 11, 2008
- El Nuevo Diario - Muere Alexis Argüello
- "Boxer Argüello Found Dead", Associated Press via Yahoo News (July 1, 2009)
- Alexis Argüello's Professional Boxing Record. BoxRec.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-12.
- Professional boxing record for Alexis Argüello from BoxRec
- BoxingInsider.com Biofile interview with Alexis Arguello
- Aladdin Freeman's BraggingRights Interview With Arguello 2004
- On June 26, 2009 in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Argúello placed flowers at a monument for Roberto Clemente to honor the late baseball great. Video on YouTube
- La Prensa - police statement
|WBA Featherweight Champion
November 23, 1974–1977
Title next held byRafael Ortega
Title last held byClemente Sanchez
|The Ring Featherweight Champion
May 31, 1975 - June 20, 1977
Title next held byDanny Lopez
|WBC Super Featherweight Champion
January 28, 1978–1980
Title next held byEdwin Rosario
|WBC Lightweight Champion
June 20, 1981–1983
Title next held byEdwin Rosario
|The Ring Lightweight Champion
June 20, 1981 – February 1983
Title next held byJulio César Chávez