He moved mountains & nations: Adios Alexis The Great

He moved mountains & nations: Adios Alexis The Great

He moved mountains & nations: Adios Alexis The Great

He moved mountains & nations: Adios Alexis The Great

Managua, Nicaragua has bled a son that boxing shall never recover from the days when the sport was still inundated with infinite stars, yet we lost in its wake one gentleman who often times befuddled us with an extreme amount of chivalry in the midst of violence.

He was taken away from nations and worlds that acknowledged him as the bastion of good will ambassadorship. Through the semi smiling face and sternest seriousness of tone behind it, disseminating whether he was a professor in a tweed jacket instructing a class of preppies with every third girl ogling over his tall, dark, and handsome features was standard practice and became more of anyone’s guess as to whether “you would or wouldn’t really trust him with your daughter.”

As a youngster growing he wore his hair long, soul searched, and toured as part of the Hippy generation without auditioning for Hair. He wore sandals, dabbled inside the Pre-Sixties culture of self-expression, to an external superficial plunge of drugs and alcohol that through early years of experimentation, revolution, and every hungry teen that dared have the need to question authority has been there.

He ran the test of times as a professional fighter, but not just any fighter. Was fortunate to have been around at a time when there were only three triple-crown Latin champions when he was running, racing to being second in its history, and in fast-forwarding his mayoral election last January for his home of Managua, the accomplishments would seem so farfetched if it hadn’t been for the Managua Nicaraguan Three-divisional world champion born Alexis “The Explosive Thin Man” Argüello Bohórquez, 82-8, 65 KO’s.

He died in Nicaragua, but the story wasn’t half the sweet success through exceeding hurdles he overcame. Beginning with Argüello’s trials and tribulation he hung onto his dream of using boxing as a means thru acting civil and decent, and an infectious example that could be set. But soon thereafter he was to feel the earth move beneath tem, and late December 1972, his life dangled in the balance of losses of life, 2000 of his neighbors were swallowed up at an instant, and Managua turned into a chaotic transformation overnight leaving 275,000 without homes.

By 1973 he was 26-2, 20 KO’s, staying the consummate professional in spite of it, and as a rising featherweight he accepted self-determination as the conduit for rebuilding above the soil that took his home away by hammer, nail, and chisel side by side with neighbor.

He was born April 12, 1952.

The start in his home amateur rankings began in 1968 — with a modest — but effective 51-bouts, 42-9, 33 KO’s. His first trainer was Miguel Angel Rivas “Kid Pambelé” who instilled in him dicipline and a controlled aggression, with an ounce of respect for the sport.

Febuary 16th 1974, in a fight of exxperience to the road of the WBA Featherweight Title, confronted champion Ernesto “El Nato” Marcel, and dropped the 15 round verdict in Panamá. Marcel shortly retired after their fight.

Sports telecasts will undoubtedly replay his first WBA Featherweight conquest the following November, defeating Rubén Olivares for the title in the 13th round of their donnybrook, Los Angeles, California. That ferociousness and brutal left-hook of Argüello’s knocked the mouthpiece out, and as Olivares rose from the canvas with that same blow, he took some rather severe bounces off of his head that referee Dick Young had counted him out.

I may add unapologetically that Rubén Olivares was enshrined in the IBHOF ’96, and was arguably the second coming to legendary Kid Azteca, who’s incidentally in the WBHOF.

I’ll always remember May 22nd 1982, when Argüello consolidated the World Lightweight Title in demolishing Andy Ganigan in the fifth with a vaunted cross and deliberate body blow catching ‘em between below heart…. just above the solar plexus in which the futile punch depleted the Hawaiian of much needed oxygen.

The horrific abandonment manifested inside the Alfredo Escalera fights circa 1978 and ’79; in the junior lightweight category were as solid gold as any; and who would have believed that the revelation to that led to Aaron Pryor having repeat performances with an additional 10 pounds…and a newer decade later?

Further removed in a comeback fight defeating ideld malicious gossip about tampering with gloves was hosted Febuary 9th 1986 from Reno, Nevada, in a fight that the Billy Costello people played the protagonists accusing Argüello for suspect bandaging. Rewrapping his hands in the dressing room didn’t delay the sudden burst of the Nicaraguan warrior, as Costello felt its wrath succumbing to a vicious TKO in the fourth. Tim Ryan reechoed sentiment to what had taken place prior to the knockout, and Alexis, in his most admirable posture began to proceed in telling Ryan, “You know Tim I have been bandaging my hands for sixteen, seventeen years now, and nobody has ever questioned anything to me about my bandages before.”

In his most urgent need to ascertain composure looking at the camera, Argüello said, “That there punch I hit Costello with was the angriness coming off of me because of my bandaging…”

He then added a key point in saying, “Don’t you think I would know if there was some strange substances inside of my gloves?” And in a display of superior sportsmanship and professionalism apologized to Billy for what had transpired. Cradling Costello behind his head in a gesture of fair gamesmanship with a smile, Alexis said, “Come on Billy.” If that didn’t bring a teary eye to the joint, then Argüello was more evil than non-do-gooder Antonio Margarito.

Argüello always reminded us folks that they’re professionals who owed a responsibility to the boxing public for putting on a good show.

The eventuality of abandoning the 130-pound ranks wasn’t in the best of times. Problems with traveling had arise forcing “Flaco explosivo” to take on July 26th 1978, Dominican sensation Vilomar Fernández in a NYSAC sanctioned bout for 10 heats as lightweights. Roberto Duran sat impatiently there; contract in hand anticipating Argüello to win for their clamoring fanfare to get together initially underway; but that wasn’t to be as the slickster Fernández disrupted plans taking the decision; and Duran ripped the document in disgust to shreds raging obscenities at Argüello.

Everybody wanted to see this achievable fight, but the WBC Junior Lightweight Champ had other defenses ahead. Nobody really knows the outcome for sure, but even in the mythologies of Duran knocking out a mule (or was that a horse?), through the telling tales of both Pipino Cuevas and George Foreman being the only men in carnet to obliterate the brackets supporting speed bags, take this to heart, Argüello’s carbon copy to a jab was that of having heavyweight Larry Holmes’.

That piston-jab was what set Alexis’ other punches in sequences, and no doubt Duran would have had to eat a steady amount of them to derail him, even at 135.

A magnificence to that aura at 130 increased with retaining successes after the Fernández debacle over Arturo Leon (W 15), Alfredo Escalera ll (TKO 13), Bazooka Limon (TKO 11),and Bobby Chacon (KO 7). And those last formable three of four were tireless defenses that awakened in 1979.

However, not entirely escaping his tribulations—as if adding insult to injury—despite being blessed with 5’9 1/2 inches in height—had a 69 1/2-inch reach just shy of the average heavyweight in their leagues, but the tremendous blow he suffered was outside the ring as rebuilding where his foundation once stood was only going to get lost again in Managua, this time a boxing ban during the Nicaraguan revolution saw to that, and the tens of thousands he put in having lived in Miami went bust. The country now newly governed deemed boxing illegal.

Though it all Alexis Argüello’s composed balance carried a hurtful price, one that two entire lifetimes couldn’t make up. He had but a life with more countries that loved him. Maybe it wasn’t enough, we can only guess as to where that sustained flowing care comes from, but if Alexis wasn’t the ultimate teacher to finding out…. we should all be as lucky.

I would have dreaded to think what had six-time champion golden boy had done if the explosive thin man’s reach went hand and hand with his humanitarian concerns to promote. No disrespects Oscar, but he would have beaten you. I presume we could all stand to learn a thing or two from the experience before Larry Merchant goes on his monolog teary eyed at that.

Strangely enough, the two most qualified people who’ve known him intimately in trainer-boxer circles were the late Eddie Futch and Aaron Pryor, who Pryor later offered these words of archaic wisdom after the November ‘83 Miami’s Orange Bowl, “”I was glad he didn’t get up because I didn’t want to hit him anymore,” Pryor said. “Usually after I’ve beaten a man, I no longer respect him. But Argüello is a man, a three-time world champion. I felt for him every time I hit him; I knew only his great heart was holding him up. I was happy that I would take my title home, but I was sad that he’d never win a fourth championship.”

Perhaps no fewer words could capture a quicker meaningful moment then in the one expressed by WBA Executive Vice President Gilberto Jesús Mendoza’s quote March ‘07 in Panama Tocumen airport, where Alexis was to board for Peru to accept an award, while Mendoza was to go to Venezuela with his son each crossing paths. And Mendoza later stated, his last words towards me are coming back and forth in my mind “La bendicion para el Viejo mi hermanito, cuidate” in English “God bless your old man, take care.”

It’s been a sad day of mourning when we heard the news about the tragic life of this great one who not only moved mountains, but Nations. Missing him is no aberration in essence to what he’s left us with.

The courage to fight against immeasurable odds against you, and garner the world at your side was his reward in purposeful doing.

That’s what Argüello was.

Adios Alexis the Great!

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Sturm-Gevor make weight!

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