There were many many super great to legendary boxers during the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995) that became world lightweight champions to include Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran, Carlos “Teo” Ortiz, Julio Cezar Chavez, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Edwin Rosario, Jose Luis Ramirez, Oscar de la Hoya, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Alexis Arguello…..with more than a fair share of truly great lightweight champions like Livingstone Bramble, Ernesto Espana, Arturo Frias, Ismael Laguna, Ken Buchanan, Jimmy Paul, Greg Haugen, Jim Watt and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini…..for this fight featured a legend lightweight versus a great lightweight….as the bout lived up to every expectation.
Alexis Argüello was a Nicaraguan professional boxer who competed from 1968 to 1995….who was a three-weight world champion….having held the WBA featherweight title from 1974 to 1976….the WBC super featherweight title from 1978 to 1980…. and the WBC lightweight title from 1981 to 1982. Additionally, he held the Ring magazine and lineal featherweight titles from 1975 to 1977….the Ring lightweight title from 1981 to 1982….and the lineal lightweight title in 1982. In his later career he challenged twice for light welterweight world titles, both times in famous fights against Aaron Pryor.
Argüello has regularly been cited as one of the greatest boxers of his era after 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, he became active in Nicaraguan politics and in November 2008 was elected mayor of his native Managua, the nation’s capital city. The Ring magazine has ranked Argüello as 20th on their list of “100 greatest punchers of all time”….while the Associated Press ranked him as the world’s best super featherweight of the 20th century.
After eight successful super featherweight 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, a really great lightweight champions. Watt lasted 15 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 accomplish that feat. He had to face some less known challengers in this division with one exception being the famous prospect Ray “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 1980’s….with Argüello prevailing by stoppage when he decked Mancini in round 14. This fight was referenced in the Warren Zevon song “Boom Boom Mancini”.
Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini is a retired American boxer….who held the World Boxing Association lightweight championship from 1982 to 1984. Mancini inherited his distinctive nickname from his father, veteran boxer Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini….who laid the foundation for his son’s career….as Boom Boom became a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame as part of its 2015 class.
On April 30, 1980, Mancini defeated Bobby Sparks with a knockout at 1:28 in the first round for the regional Ohio State Lightweight title. Over a year later on May 16, 1981, Mancini won his first major title by defeating Jorge Morales for the WBC-affiliated NABF Lightweight championship when the referee determined that Morales could not continue after the 9th round. Two months later, he successfully defended the title against Jose Luis Ramirez after a unanimous decision. Mancini’s first attempt at a world title came in his next bout on October 3 when he was pitted against Alexis Argüello for his World Boxing Council lightweight title….as Mancini gave Arguello trouble early and built a lead on the scorecards….but Arguello used his experience to his advantage in the later rounds and stopped Mancini in the 14th round.
Any way you cut the pie….this epic battle between two really outstanding lightweight champions prpvides any boxing fan with what we call around here….MUST SEE TV!!!