Boxing Legend Alexis Argüello
Ranked as number 20 on the list of 100 top punchers of all time by US boxing magazine The Ring, Nicaraguan Alexis Argüello was a professional boxer turned politician, elected to the office of Mayor of Managua in November 2008. In his boxing career Argüello, also known as El Flaco Explosivo, claimed the world champion title three times, and was readily acknowledged as being one of the greatest boxers of his era. He had never lost any of his world titles in the boxing ring, but had relinquished them in favor of competing for higher weight class titles.
In his professional debut in 1968, El Flaco Explosivo (The Explosive Thin Man) suffered a first round technical knock-out, but went on to win 36 of his next 38 bouts. His subsequent Featherweight championship bout against WBA champion Ernesto Marcel of Panama ended in defeat, but Argüello was undeterred in his efforts at making a career from boxing and went on to enjoy another winning streak. This lead him into the ring against Mexican world champion Ruben Olivares, resulting in victory and the title of Featherweight World Champion.
After defending this title a few times, Argüello moved up to Junior Lightweight to challenge then champion Alfredo Escalera at a fight in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The fight, which has been declared one of the most brutal in boxing history, resulted in victory for Argüello. After defending his new title a number of times, Argüello moved up to Lightweight category and challenged then world champion Jim Watt in a fifteen-round bout with the judges awarding him the championship. This historic fight made Argüello one of only six boxers to win world titles in three divisions, as well as being one of only two Latin Americans to do so.
In a highly controversial fight, billed as The Battle of the Champions, between Argüello and Aaron Pryor, Argüello made an attempt to become the first world champion in four separate categories, but was stopped in the 14th round. The controversy centered on the water Pryor had consumer after round 13, which was suspected of being tainted. A rematch between the two fighters resulted in Argüello being knocked out in round ten, prompting his decision to quit boxing. He did, however, make a number of unsuccessful comeback attempts before retiring for good. Elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992, he was selected as the flag-bearer for Nicaragua at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Alexis Argüello had been born in Managua on 19 April 1952, and on 1 July 2009 he died in the city of his birth, due to a gunshot wound to the chest that was ruled as a suicide. At a memorial held in his honor, presidential spokeswoman Rosario Murillo was quoted as saying that Alexis Argüello was “the champion of the poor, an example of forgiveness and reconciliation.”