[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
SUPER-FEATHERWEIGHT or JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS 130 lbs: p1 Alexis Arguello p2 Kid Chocolate p4 Gabriel Flash Elorde p4 Tyrone Everett p5 Mikey Garcia p5 Samuel Serrano p5 Brian Mitchell p6 Alfredo Escalera p8 Diego Corrales p10 Genaro Hernandez
[8.9] ALEXIS ARGUELLO 96-88(70)-8-0 [Light-Welterweight & Lightweight & Super-Featherweight & Featherweight & Bantamweight]: Alexis Arguello - The Guerrilla Fighter TV - Boxing News online -
Aside from a handful of guys, boxing is missing the good trainers. That’s why our sport is so in the air now because we don’t have people who have the capability to not only train fighters but also train and create decent respectable citizens of the world. Alexis Arguello
Boxing gave me the opportunities to grow into the person that I am today. Alexis Arguello
Probably the biggest hero I will have … All of a sudden you’re hearing of him going back to Nicaragua, he’s out in the jungle fighting the Sandinistas. (Nicaragua & Boxing) The Guerrilla Fighter, ESPN short 2016
Every one of the fundamentals he did exceedingly well. ibid.
November 12 1982 v Pryor: This was a fight that exceeded the hype. They went toe to toe. ibid.
‘I went down there to help Alexis run for mayor.’ ibid. Pryor
Alexis Arguello was found dead at 1.30 in the morning in his home July 1st 2009 from a gunshot wound to the chest. ibid.
On This Day: The great Alexis Arguello was born: The great Alexis Arguello was such a class act both in and out of the ring that it came as a huge shock when he took his own life in 2009. But then problems in everyday life can overwhelm even the greatest of fighters – and the Nicaraguan was definitely one of those.
Many will remember him for his two defeats by Aaron Pryor in light-welterweight title battles, but one could argue that those came when he was already past his best. By the time of the first Pryor fight in November 1982 he had turned 30 and had already held world titles at feather, super-feather and lightweight.
At his best the man from Managua was a superb technician with a vicious punch in either hand.
Former Boxing News editor Graham Houston saw Arguello for the first time on US television in April 1978. Alexis retained his WBC 9st 4lbs belt with a fifth-round stoppage of Filipino Rey Tam and Houston was seriously impressed: ‘He punched Tam to a standstill with as classical a display of power punching as you could wish to see. Arguello’s red gloves flashed through and around Tam’s guard as if guided by radar. And they landed with sickening impact.’
At 5ft 9 1/2ins Arguello was tall and slim, hence the nickname ‘El Flaco Explosivo’, or ‘The Explosive Thin Man’. He was always tall for his weight, although of course that advantage lessened as he moved up through the divisions.
Houston noted that opponents had to take chances to get near him, although he added the warning: ‘Taking chances with Arguello is like going into the water with sharks when you’ve got a nose bleed. Something is bound to happen.’
Watching Arguello was like seeing a boxing textbook come to life. He had an educated, hard left jab; mixed up punches to body and head; was equally dangerous with long rights or short left hooks; his anticipation was excellent; and he cleverly ducked, slipped and blocked punches.
He wasn’t perfect, though. In June 1978, when he was reigning WBC super-feather champion, Arguello shockingly lost a majority decision to Vilomar Fernandez in a non-title lightweight 10-rounder at Madison Square Garden. But then Fernandez was a ‘runner’ and Arguello was never at his best against those.
The loss scuppered plans for a dream fight against Roberto Duran, then the world lightweight champion; Don King had a promotional deal with both men. Arguello went back to defending his 9st 4lbs belt and it wasn’t until 1981 that he moved up to 9-9 and took the WBC title from Scotland’s Jim Watt.
And Arguello could also be tagged and decked. A 1980 non-title fight saw him floored by future champ Jose Luis Ramirez, but Alexis won on points. In 1982 Andy Ganigan, a big puncher, dropped Arguello only for the Nicaraguan to rally and retain his lightweight crown on a fifth-round stoppage.
Courage and hard work were never a problem for Arguello. He went to work at 13, training to spray-paint cars to support his family. He was boxing for pay at 16 and by February 1974 was good enough to challenge Ernesto Marcel for the WBA featherweight title. He was outpointed, but before the year was out had ko’d Ruben Olivares to win the same belt (Marcel had retired).
Weight woes eventually forced him up to super-feather, where he ripped the WBC belt from Alfredo Escalera (rsf 13) in January 1978. A rematch 13 months later saw Arguello knock out the Puerto Rican with a perfect left hook, also in the 13th session.
British fans got to see him up close in June 1981 when he came to Wembley and outboxed Watt over 15 rounds for the WBC lightweight title. Watt was a good fighter but always second best to the classy Nicaraguan.
As Arguello kept winning, and growing, he looked towards a historic achievement: earning a world title in a fourth weight class, something that had proved beyond even the legendary Henry Armstrong. His chance came against Pryor, a whirlwind who swamped opponents with volleys of punches.
They met at Miami’s Orange Bowl in November 1982, and Arguello was the crowd favourite. He had become very popular in the United States, having settled in Coral Gables, Florida following the 1979 Sandinista revolution in his homeland. There he supported a wife and four children, his mother and several siblings.
He had a survived a series of setbacks: his home had been destroyed in the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake; his house and possessions totalling half a million dollars had been confiscated by the Sandinistas; and a younger brother had been killed fighting with the Sandinista guerrillas.
But Pryor proved too much in a thrilling fight, wearing down the better-boxing Nicaraguan for a 14th-round stoppage. There was a question mark over a substance from cornerman Panama Lewis gave him from a bottle, but nothing was ever proved and the result stood.
A rematch in September 1983 saw Pryor score a 10th-round knockout and it was effectively the end, although Arguello’s last fight didn’t come until 1995 when he was 42.
Sadly, he didn’t have a happy time outside the ring. Despite having that property confiscated during the Sandinista takeover he returned to Nicaragua and ended up working with them. In 2008 his place in his country’s sporting history was recognised when he was chosen to carry the flag at the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony. Also that year, he won the mayoral election in Managua, but he had his demons and the following year took his own life with a gun. Boxing News online article 19 April 2018 Daniel Herbert
72) Jim Watt Points 15: UK Fight Commentary TV -
v Jim Watt 20 June 1981 WBC Lightweight London: [r1] … The challenger [Arguello] looks very much bigger … Neither man too anxious to lead … quiet opening round … [r2] … Watt gives ground behind the southpaw lead … Arguello beginning to jab with some severity … [r3] … Rather fast and accurate punching [Arguello] … the reach of Arguello is beginning to tell … Arguello ignores it and come on … [r4] … Arguello moves into yet another high gear … good right hand … [r5] … Those wide right hands [Arguello] coming in … The pace of the fight increases … [r6] … Very much a battle of wits … Good right from Arguello … Watt pops the odd punch out as he goes back … [r7] … Over goes the champion [Watt] … and it’s all Arguello … [r8] … Good left again … one downstairs, one up … good comeback by Watt … [r9] … Arguello’s done some damage there to Watt’s nose … [r10] … Watt is cut underneath the left eye … a red mark above it … [r11] … The right hand of Arguello … Watt now needs a storming finish … right hand [Arguello] … [r12] … Watt moving backwards … Good left hand from Watt … [r13] … He is beginning to look extremely marked … firing the left … very very cut indeed … still standing his ground … a great black mark … very painful indeed … [r14] … Arguello being waved on frantically … Watt’s finding the punches hard to come by … one there though … brave man … [r15] … A hard battle between two good men … Arguello certainly a most worthy challenger … [147-137 Arguello, 147-143 Arguello, 147-143 Arguello] UK fight commentary Harry Carpenter
73) Ray Boom Boom Mancini TKO14: US Fight Commentary TV -
v Ray Boom Boom Mancini 3 October 1981 WBC Lightweight Atlantic City [r1] … Mancini known as ‘Boom Boom’ all action; Arguello dubbed ‘The Explosive Thin Man’ … A seven and a half inch reach advantage for Arguello … Arguello feeling out Mancini [sic] … [r2] … Arguello picking up the pace … good left hand inside … [Mancini] upstairs with a left hook … Good right hand from Arguello … [r3] … Good stiff jab [Arguello] … outstanding technician … short little left … [r4] … So far Mancini’s done a nice job … letting his hands go on the inside … good stiff jab … Arguello with that subtle movement … Mancini steps in with a right … [r5] … Mancini has kept up a brisk pace … lands a combination … good jab … good right hand … [r6] … Chopping right from the champion … Right hand to the body from Mancini … You’d be hard pressed to find one round for the champion Alexis Arguello … Mancini gets on the inside … [r7] … Some very clean shots to the jaw of Arguello … Chopping right from the champion … good right hand to the body … backing Manicini up a bit … [r8] … Arguello kind of double up with that left … Mancini presses forward … Nice combination from the champion Arguello … doing a better job … [r9] … Mancini: head forward, motion, pressing forward behind a double jab … Good left hand on the inside scored by Arguello … back comes Boom Boom … Toe to toe … [r10] … Good stiff jab by the champion … a sharper round … [r11] … Left hook from Mancini, good jab … right cross from Arguello … [r12] … Manicini has come forward this entire fight … Left hand from the champion …