On April 19th, 1952 one of the greatest boxers to ever live was born. The place: Managua, Nicaragua. His name: Alexis Arguello also known as “El Flaco Explosivo” or “The Explosive Thin Man.”
Arguello was born into poverty and grew up fighting in the streets of Managua which eventually turned him to boxing, in which he had a very brilliant career. His professional career started in August of 1968. He fought in a total 97 bouts with 89 victories with 8 defeats. He has a total of 536 rounds under his belt and a 72 KO percentage. Those stats make today’s fighters records look small don’t they?
When it comes to Arguello’s fights there are so many memorable ones because he never shied away from competition like many of today’s fighters. He fought the likes of Ruben Olivares, Rafael Limon, Bobby Chacon, Ruben Castillo, and Ray Mancini. Although all of those fights were very memorable, none of them compared to his fights with Aaron Pryor.
The first fight with Pryor was a controversial one due to a specially mixed bottle of water by Pryor’s trainer, who was later banned from boxing because of cheating, that seemed to rejuvenate Pryor after being shaken up in the later rounds. Pryor ended up winning the rematch the following year.
It is hard to describe the Pryor fights in detail because I could go on and on forever as is the case with Arguello’s other fights. If I could single out a single feat in Arguello’s career that I found amazing, it would be the fact that he never lost his titles to an opponent. He may have lost title fights, but he was not the champion going into those fights. Think about it, in every single title defense that Arguello has had, not one single opponent was able to take them away from him. Wow!
Instead Arguello would vacate his titles to move up in weight and try to take other fighter’s titles away. He was truly a man without fear.
There were many high points in his career that lasted over 27 years, but it was not all joyous. His brother had disappeared during an intense civil war inNicaragua, in which many people whether they fought or were just civilians, ended up disappearing and never being heard from again. He had divorced twice and re-married for a third time.
The most tragic event of his life was when he entered politics and was elected mayor ofManagua. Arguello cared so deeply for his people that he tried to help them out as much as he could. Unfortunately, as is the case for many politicians, he made enemies. By doing well and helping people out, someone or some people had enough of him. Arguello tragically died from a gunshot wound to the heart which was said to have been suicide. With the type of gun that was used it was impossible for Arguello to have shot himself. It was later announced that the shooting seemed suspect. No one was ever arrested.
A life was cut short and a bright star faded out. Alexis Arguello was a caring man to everyone around him. He rose from poverty and made something of himself, staying humble all the way. This April 19th would have been the 61st birthday of this ring legend. One of the greatest fighters of all time is gone but will never be forgotten. Descanse en paz. Rest in peace champ.