After 12-hot rounds, Ruben Olivares and Alexis Arguello came out to fight round 13 in a Forum of Inglewood completely full. According to general appreciation, the Mexican Olivares seemed to have advantage on the judges cards, and the public believed that he should only try finish the fight on his feet to retain the World Boxing Association featherweight Crown.
It was November 23, 1974. The Forum of Los Ángeles was current Mecca of boxing and the “Puas” together with “mantequilla” Napoles, was an attraction. As they came to the center of the ring, both threw their left hook. The Nicaraguan Arguello came first and landed in the parietal right to the “Puas” who went to the canvas.
Arguello retired to his corner while the referee Dick Young began to count. There was general concern in the Forum full of Mexicans. All of them thought Olivares should grove and wait for the bad time passed and avoid the Arguello’s fists until he could regain his lucidity. The essential thing was to overcome the bad time and survive rounds 14 and 15 to leave everything in the hands of the judges.
Olivares had executed a Masterful boxing work to avoid the strong fist of the nica and throwing combinations that, if they did make much damage, they gave the the impression that they gave him advantage on the judges cards. Arguello had a puncher well earned reputation and Olivares, shorter, but a remarkable Warrior, but wasn’t very strong jaw.
The Mexican had robbed the Nicaraguan offensive and had launched harmonic combinations that reduced the Central American puncher defensive, preventing him from taking increasingly dangerous fists.
Olivares rose from the canvas, after a long count from the referee Dick Young and against what was expected, he went towards the challenger throwing combinations of both hands with offensive that confused Arguello, but a suicide for many. Arguello, as he had done throughout the fight, responded with his artillery, and in give and take, he managed to sneak an upper right to the left cheek of the brave Mexican and he rolled down the canvas.
Dick Young started the count. Olivares rose with difficulty. Young seemed to count slowly as an award the “Puas” courage and in recognition for the big fight that he had presented, but there was no case. Olivares himself signaled him he could fight no more and ended the bout for him. For Arguello it marked the beginning of his splendor period that led him to win the world titles in three divisions and to become a boxing legend.
In spite of this defeat – that gave him more recognition than any other victory- Olivares shortly afterwards returned to the throne of the division (this time for the WBC) when he knocked out in only two rounds the great warrior, Bobby Chacón. This was a short term crown as he lost it in the first defense to David Kotey in a controversial decision.
Who saw the fight bad? The judges or the public?
Almost 95% of the people I have consulted (that recall the fight) told me that Olivares was clearly going to win by KO. International commentators and the public of other countries think alike. Some even speak of “Beating”. However, to my surprise, the judges of the fight, they do not agree with these opinions.
As for the score up to the moment, the score cards, the referee Dick Young had 8-3 and one round draw, for Arguello; judges Larry Rozadilla had it 6-5 and a tie, also in favor of Arguello and another judge, George Latka took scored 5-5 and two rounds draw.
What would have happened if Olivares had survived and won rounds 13, 14 and 15? The fans would have believed that the “Puas” had merits to retain the title, but when they announced the triumph of Arguello by decision (unanimous most likely), how would have the Mexican fans reacted before this unexpected defeat of his great idol?
Some believers often say “God knows what he does”. This expression of faith comes to collation in this opportunity. The violent result in favor of Arguello was more convenient because so there was no doubt. Who knows that tragedy could have occurred the fight with a decision as to which judges might have given. Even today, 40 years later, we would be talking about that decision.
For Arguello was the beginning of the legend
From that moment on, the figure of Alexis Arguello grew up to the infinite. He defended his title, for the first time in Caracas against the first Challenger, Leonel Hernández he punched a knockout in the eighth round March 15, 75. He defended that featherweight Crown before any Challenger that might come out, but his stature and physical asked more tonnage by what on January 28, 1978 went up to the top division to challenge the great Puerto Rican champion Alfredo Escalera.
In an epic and bloody battle held in the “Juan Ramón Lubriel” stadium of Bayamon, Alexis was crowned in round 13, after producing a dangerous wound on the lips of escalera. He fought with all the rated boxers of the division. He even challenged Escalera in Rimini, Italy, again and again, and after a great battle, he knocked out the brave boricua again, in the same round 13.
Again, his height made him to move up division. And he went to United Kingdom to challenge Jim Watt for the Lightweight title and defeated him by decision on June 20, 1981. Without evading any Challenger, again he cleaned the lightweight division until mid-1982, he moved up to Jr Welter, and instead of challenging the WBC champion that would make him available as Leroy Haley, he decided to fight for the WBA crown in the hands of I decided to search for the WBA Crown, in the hands of the “Falcon”, Aaron Pryor.
Two defeats by KO before the extraordinary puncher from Cincinnati, marke the decline of the great nica. He retired and returned years later. After poor shows and drug scandals, he retired definitely. He devoted himself to politics and became mayor of Managua. He had a strange death, (in 2009), that has not been determined yet whether it was suicide or murder.