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L E’s Stories – “Viva El Flaco Explosivo” – Tribute To Boxer Alexis Arguello

I find that writing this story about El Flaco Explosivo brings me great joy….cuz this lil chiweenie Sportsphile just loves boxing….aaaaahhhh the art of pugilism….as boxing is truly an art of footwork, body position, jabs, combinations and protection….with each area having its own art form…..and Alexis Argüello was truly an artist while on the canvas called the boxing ring…..as we at ImaSportsphile are fortunate to have so many of videos of El Flaco Explosivo…..cuz this tall lanky Nicaraguan fighter could explode out of no where and deliver a fight ending blow.  Alexis Arguello was also know as El Caballero del Ring (“The Gentleman of the Ring”)…..and he really was….for we have lots of interview and highlight footage of him with the mike on…..and to hear him talk, you almost couldn’t believe that he was such a master of a truly violent sport…..and when you add to all of that, the fact that he was a really handsome Latin man….whose boxing shoes I wouldn’t mind finding under my bed in the morning…..and you have a reason to showcase the “Artful Master” known as Alexis Arguello in this story today.

Boxing – 1968 To 1995 – Special Documentary – The Story Of Alexis Arguello

Alexis Arguello was a Nicaraguan professional boxer who competed from 1968 to 1995….and later became a politician in Nicaragua….who was a three-weight world champion….while having held the WBA featherweight title from 1974 to 1976….the WBC super featherweight title from 1978 to 1980….as well as the WBC lightweight title from 1981 to 1982….while additionally holding the Ring and lineal featherweight titles from 1975 to 1977….the Ring lightweight title from 1981 to 1982…..and the lineal lightweight title in 1982…..plus, in his later career, he challenged twice for light welterweight world titles ….with both times in famous fights against Aaron Pryor…..whom he remained very friendly with throughout his life after the ring….as the pair saw each other several times a year until Argüello’s death.

Boxing – 1968 To 1995 – Special – Alexis Arguello – “The Rise And Fall Of A Legend”                                             

Argüello was born April 19, 1952…and had a troubled childhood growing up in abject poverty in Managua. When he was 5 years old, his father, who was a shoemaker, attempted suicide….when at the age of 9, Argüello ran away to work in a dairy farm….then at age 13, he emigrated to Canada to provide for his family…..where he was was constantly involved in street brawls through his teenage years….but it wasn’t until his sister Marina, one of Alexis’ 7 siblings, married a boxer that young Alexis took an interest in the sport….which led to a brief amateur career that saw him compile a 58-2 record.                                                        

Boxing – 1968 To 1995 – Career Knockouts Highlights – Alexis Arguello: “The Explosive Thin Man”                        

Alexis Argüello made his boxing debut on October 26, 1968….as he had been trained by former boxer Miguel Angel Rivas…..when after winning his first 3 fights “The Explosive Thin Man” suffered a first-round KO loss….which was followed by another split decision loss….and that is when Argüello would win 29 of his next 30 bouts over the next 5 years…..which included a win over José Legrá.  Eventually, Argüello earned a world featherweight championship bout against experienced WBA champion Ernesto Marcel…. as the fight took place in Panama, Marcel’s home country…..where the young challenger lost a 15-round unanimous decision in the champion’s retirement bout.  Months after Marcel’s retirement, the WBA featherweight title was won by former unified bantamweight champion Rubén Olivares…..so, undaunted, Argüello put together another streak of wins….and found himself contending for the WBA featherweight title again, this time against Olivares in his first defense…..as the fight took place at The Forum in Inglewood on November 23, 1974…..when after Olivares had 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…..and a few seconds later, Argüello was the new featherweight champion of the world.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Boxing – 1974 – WBA Featherweight Title Fight Highlights – Alexis Arguello Vs. Ruben Olivares

Argüello’s first defense came against Venezuelan featherweight champion Leonel Hernández….when once again, Argüello fought in enemy territory, as the fight took place in Caracas….albeit Argüello made short work of his challenger….while stopping him by TKO in the 8th round…..which was followed by his first defense in Nicaragua Rigoberto Riasco…..as Argüello dominated once again by stopping Riasco in the second round. Next up for Argüello would be Royal Kobayashi, a highly touted Japanese challenger….. who was undefeated until then…..when after a tense close start, Argüello’s relentless body-punching broke Kobayashi halfway through the 5th round….with the challenger dropping to the canvas twice.                    

Boxing – 1980 – WBC Super Featherweight Title Fight – Jose Luis Rameriz Vs Alexis Arguello

After a successful 4th defense, Argüello moved up in weight to challenge World Junior Lightweight champion Alfredo Escalera in Bayamón, Puerto Rico….a fight which has been nicknamed The Bloody Battle of Bayamon by many…..in what some experts (including The Ring writers) consider one of the most brutal fights in history….when Escalera had his eye, mouth and nose broken early….but was rallying back in the scorecards when Argüello finished him, once again in the 13th 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…..and guess what….ImaSportsphile has many of these fights already posted in our Alexis Arguello category.  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.  There is a simple fact about the legendary boxers from The Golden Age of Boxing…..each and every one of them were really tough guys.                                                                               

Boxing – 1979 – WBC Super Featherweight Title – Raphael “Bazooka” Limon Vs. Alexis Arguello – With Howard Cosell

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. ….when Watt lasted fifteen rounds….but the judges gave Argüello a unanimous decision…. thus making him only the 6th boxer to win world titles in 3 divisions…..and the 2nd Latin American (after Wilfred Benítez had become the first by beating Maurice Hope one month before) to do it….then he had to face some lesser known challengers in this division….with one exception being the famous prospect Ray Mancini “Boom Boom” Mancini….when he and Argüello engaged in a fight that was later showcased one of the best fights of the decade of the 1980’s….with Argüello prevailing by stoppage when he decked Mancini in round 14. After the fight, Argüello gained many American fans when he embraced Mancini and told a CBS television audience that he would do anything to help Mancini’s father….who at the time was dealing with illness. Next El Flaco Explosivo took on Andrew Ganigan….who proved to be one of Argüello’s toughest challenges….as he dropped Argüello in the second round….but ultimately the defending champion prevailed by stopping Ganigan in the 5th.                                                                                                                                                                

Boxing – 1982 – WBC Lightweight Title Fight – Andy Ganigan Vs Alexis Arguello With Howard Cosell

Arguello successfully defended his lightweight title four times…..then after defeating James ‘Bubba’ Busceme by a 6th round TKO….Argüello decided to move up in weight class again….when on November 12, 1982…..he tried to become the first world champion in 4 different categories….when he met the heavier and future Hall-of-Fame  Aaron Pryor, in what was billed as The Battle of the Champions in Miami, Florida. Argüello was stopped in the 14th round….but the fight sparked controversy because Pryor’s trainer,  Panama Lewis, introduced a 2nd water bottle which he described as “the bottle I mixed” after round 13…. which led to speculation that the bottle was tainted…..and the Florida State Boxing Commission failed to administer a post-fight urinalysis….which added to speculation that the bottle contained an unsanctioned substance.  Lewis claimed at various times that the bottle was filled with peppermint schnapps and  Perrier to help Pryor deal with an upset stomach. 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….which gave a fighter greater lung capacity in the later rounds of a fight…..while others say that there was a mixture of cocaine, honey and orange juice in the bottle. A rematch was then fought in Las Vegas….when Arguello was KO-ed in the 10th….and stated after the fight “I’m not going to fight anymore. I quit.”….but he later returned to the ring for financial reasons.                             

Boxing – 1982 – WBC Super Lightweight Title Fight – Alexis Arguello Vs. Aaron Pryor – 1st Fight

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…..for during the 1980’s, 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 1980’s and early 1990’s….while having some success….with most notably a 4th round stoppage of former World Junior Welterweight Champion Billy Costello in a 1986 televised bout….which put him in a position for another shot at the Junior Welterweight title.                                                                                                                                                 

Boxing – 1983 – WBC Super Lightweight Title Fight – Alexis Arguello Vs. Aaron Pryor – 2nd Fight

Alexis Arguello retired for good in 1995…..with a record of 77 wins with 62 by KO’s against 8 losses…. as El Flaco Explosivo knocked-out all but 15 of his 85 opponents that he beat….along with the recognition of being one of the sports most universally respected fighters among fans, experts, and boxers…..plus, the endearing respect of his mastery of the art of pugilism….and a heartthrob to this lil ole chiweenie story writer….cuz we at ImaSportsphile have grown really fond of El Caballero del Ring…..as we are “tickled pink” to have so much footage of him in our video museum…..for he was truly a “ring master” …..and boy could that man punch hard….I mean….just watch the artistry in his combinations and the power in his punch in the video below…..and you’ll see why is one of the best boxers ever.                              

Boxing – 1968 To 1995 – Special – Highlights Of Alexis Arguello’s Career Knockouts

Argüello has regularly been cited as one of the greatest boxers of his era, having never lost any of his world titles in the ring….whereby instead relinquishing them each time in pursuit of titles in higher weight classes. 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 Junior Lightweight of the 20th century   He was named one of the 20 greatest fighters of the past 80 years by The Ring magazine.                      

Boxing – 1968 To 1995 – Special Film – Alexis Arguello: “Devasting Punching Power”                                            

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 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.

Boxing – 1983 – Special – HBO’s Legendary Nights: “The Tale of Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello”

 

 

 

 

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