Memories Of A Champion: Alexis Arguello

Nicaraguan boxing legend Alexis Arguello was found dead of an apparent suicide in his home in early July. At the time of his death, he served as mayor of Nicaragua’s capital city.

Arguello is best known to fight fans for his epic battle in’82 with Aaron The Hawk Pryor when he moved up in weight after dominating at lighter weight classes. Though Arguello would lose via knockout (amid some controversy due to an apparent mystery drink offered to Pryor by his trainer Panama Lewis) it was a thrilling toe to toe battle that even the most knowledgeable boxing experts remember fondly to this day. Promoter Bob Arum offered these thoughts on Pryor/Arguello:

“It was a brutal, brutal fight. That was something I will never, ever forget as long as I live. That was one of the most memorable fights I ever did.”

While the first Pryor fight may have brought him the most mainstream notoriety, boxing cognoscenti are aware that Arguello is arguably the best lightweight and junior lightweight in the history of the sport. Arguello would end his career with an astounding 82-8 record with 65 knockouts and championships in three different weight classes.

Ironically, Arguellos career didn’t get off to a good start and he lost his debut in’68 via first round TKO. He won his next three fights, before losing again via unanimous decision to another lower tier foe in his native country. After that, he seldom lost again and would go on to be respected as one of the best pound for pound fighters of his day. He was at his best against his toughest adversaries including Ray Mancini, Bobby Chacon and Ruben Olivares. Bob Arum remembered him not only as a great fighter, but as a great man:

“Not only was he one of the greatest fighters I’ve ever seen, he was the most intelligent fighter. He was a ring tactician. Every move was thought out. And he was a wonderful, wonderful person.”

The articulate, intelligent Arguello was also a quote machine on the fight game and how champions should conduct themselves. Here, he speaks of his attitude toward his opponents:

“Of course after the fight you want to make sure that you’re okay and so is the other guy, its a brotherhood in there, so you want to make sure everyone is okay after the war is over.”

Arguello didn’t fight for his first title until he’d had 58 fights, and would frequently admonish boxers who didn’t show the same respect for the sport or their status as champion:

“When you won that title you should know now that you are representing a whole country or nation with your actions and you are now in a glass house or under a microscope and you better be ready to make your people proud.”

Most importantly, Arguello loved boxing and sought to protect it from those who would undermine its greatness:

“I respect boxing because it has given me so much and thats why I will never allow anyone to mistreat the sport of boxing if I can help it.”

While the modest, dignified Arguello would never say it himself, that was for from a one sided debt–he also gave immeasurably to the sport of boxing with his grace, intelligence, talent and toughness.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and betting odds portal sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.

categories: boxing,sports,recreation,entertainment,hobbies,history,celebrities,politics

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