International Boxing Hall of Fame

Alexis Arguello

"The Explosive Thin Man"

Great Reading

Adrift In A Sea Of Choices [Sports Illustrated, Oct. 21, 1985]




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Alexis Arg�ello


El Flaco Explosivo,
The Explosive Thin Man



Weight divisions

Super Featherweight,


Flag of Nicaragua Nicaraguan



Birth date

April 19, 1952 (1952-04-19) (age 56)

Birth place

Managua, Nicaragua






Lupe Sanchez

Boxing record
Total fights




Wins by KO






Alexis "The Explosive Thin Man" Arg�ello (born April 19, 1952 in in Managua, Nicaragua), is a former professional Nicaraguan boxer and three time World champion.

Pro career

"The Explosive Thin Man" suffered an unavenged first round TKO loss in his 1968 professional debut, but then won 36 of his next 38 bouts, which then led him to a world Featherweight championship bout against experienced WBA champion Ernesto Marcel of Panama in Panama. The young challenger lost a 15-round unanimous decision in Marcel's retirement bout.

Undaunted, Arg�ello began another streak of wins, and found himself in the ring with a world champion again, this time challenging Marcel's successor to the throne, Mexican world champion Ruben Olivares in Los Angeles. After Olivares built a small lead on the judges' scorecards, Arg�ello and Olivares landed simultaneous left hooks in round thirteen. Olivares's left hand caused a visible pain expression on Arg�ello's face, but Arg�ello's left hand caused Olivares to crash hard against the canvas. A few seconds later, Arg�ello was the new Featherweight champion of the world.

Arg�ello defended this title a few times, then moved up in weight to challenge world Junior Lightweight champion Alfredo Escalera in Bayam�n, Puerto Rico, in what has been nicknamed The Bloody Battle of Bayamon by many. Escalera had been a busy champion with ten defenses, and he had dethroned Kuniaki Shibata in 2 rounds in Tokyo. In what some experts (including Ring Magazine writers) consider one of the most brutal fights in history, Escalera had his eye, mouth and nose busted early, but was rallying back in the scorecards when Arg�ello finished him, once again in the thirteenth round.

His reign at Junior Lightweight saw him fend off the challenges of Escalera in a rematch held at Rimini, Italy, as well as former world champion Bobby Chacon, former world champion Rafael 'Bazooka' Limon, Ruben Castillo, and Diego Alcala, beaten in only one round.

Arg�ello suffered many cuts around his face during his second victory against Escalera. The on-site doctor wanted him hospitalized, but Arg�ello had a flight to catch from Rome the next day to return to Nicaragua, and he boarded a train from Rimini. The doctor decided to travel with Arg�ello, and performed plastic surgery on Arg�ello's cuts with Arg�ello awake.

Arg�ello then moved up in weight again, and this time he had to go to London, England, to challenge world Lightweight champion Jim Watt. Watt lasted fifteen rounds, but the judges gave Arg�ello a unanimous 15-round decision, thus making him only the sixth boxer to win world titles in 3 divisions, and the second Latin American (after Wilfred Benitez had become the first by beating Maurice Hope one month before) to do it. He had to face some less known challengers in this division, one exception being the famous prospect Ray 'Boom-Boom' Mancini, who would later be the subject of a made for television movie. Mancini and Arg�ello engaged in a fight that was later showcased in a boxing video of the best fights of the 1980s, with Arg�ello prevailing by stoppage when he decked Mancini in round 14.

Battles with Aaron Pryor

After defeating James 'Bubba' Busceme by sixth round stoppage, Arg�ello decided to move up in weight class time again, and on November 12, 1982, he tried to become the first world champion in 4 different categories, meeting the heavier and future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Pryor, in what was billed as The Battle of the Champions in Miami, Florida. He was stopped in 14. A controversy erupted over a specific water bottle requested by trainer Panama Lewis which Pryor drank from before the start of the fourteenth. Because the newly created Miami Boxing Commission had neglected to perform a post-fight urinalysis, a rematch was ordered. This time, in Las Vegas, Arguello was KO:ed in the tenth, and stated after the fight "I'm not going to fight anymore. I quit." But he later returned to the ring for financial reasons.


He attempted several comebacks into boxing during the late 1980s and early 1990s and had some success, most notably a fourth round stoppage of former World Junior Welterweight Champion Billy Costello in a 1986 televised bout that put him in a position for another shot at the Junior Welterweight title. He retired in 1995 with 82 wins, 8 losses, and 65 KO:s after a ten round decision loss to Scott Walker.

Arg�ello was Nicaragua's flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[1]

Arguello Now Running For Mayor of Managua

Arg�ello later joined the Contras in his native Nicaragua but after a few months in the jungle he retired from the war.

Alexis Arg�ello is now involved in Nicaraguan politics, and, in 2004, he was elected Managua Vice-Mayor. He remains very friendly today with his old rival Aaron Pryor, and they still see each other several times a year. On March 6, 2008, Arguello was nominated by the Sandinista Party of Nicaragua to run for Mayor of capital city Managua in upcoming open elections. Arguello will run for the mayoral office in the upcoming November 2008 elections against Eduardo Montealegre, the conservative candidate of the Liberal Alliance Party who lost the election for President of Nicaragua in 2006 to Daniel Ortega.

[edit] Trivia

Arg�ello is a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

He is referenced in the Warren Zevon song "Boom Boom Mancini."

Preceded by
Ruben Olivares
WBA Featherweight boxing champion
23 Nov 1974� 1977
Succeeded by
Rafael Ortega
Preceded by
Alfredo Escalera
WBC Super Featherweight boxing champion
28 Jan 1978� 1980
Succeeded by
Rafael Limon
Preceded by
Jim Watt
WBC Lightweight Champion
20 Jun 1981� 1983
Succeeded by
Edwin Rosario


Alexis Arguello, The Explosive Thin Man

�One of the Greatest Ever�


Cox's Corner Profiles

Alexis Arguello, �El Flaco Explosivo�, the explosive thin man, as he was called, was at 5� 10� exceptionally tall for a fighter who weighed under 140 pounds. As his nickname indicates he was an explosive hitter, indeed he was perhaps the most economic and efficient puncher of the last 50 years. He fought in a boxer-puncher style similar to that of Joe Louis exhibiting near flawless boxing fundamentals with his chin down and hands held high. Alexis threw perfect left jabs and right crosses straight down the pipe and his left hook was a powerful force. He was a master at analyzing the flaws in an opponent�s style and then dissecting them with fierce body punching, accurate counters and precise combinations. Arguello would patiently stalk his opponents, take them apart and finish them off with an explosion of cascading bombs that came from a selection of powerful punches. Arguello scored 65 knockouts in 82 career wins that came with the suddenness of a man who was struck by a rattlesnake.

In his prime Arguello was considered nigh invincible. One 1978 boxing magazine published, �Alexis Arguello is regarded by some people as the perfect fighter. He is thought to be--pound for pound, inch-for-inch and punch for punch--the best puglist in the world...a fighter without a flaw.�

Peter King penned in 1981, �Watching Arguello fight is like enjoying the subtleties of a great Renaissance masterpiece. There is rich color and detail in his performance. His jabs are straight, strong and accurate. His body punches are delivered with care. His right crosses and left hooks are issued with an awesome potency. Yet this great fighter-perhaps one of the greatest ever-is largely unknown.�

Boxing writer and analyst Frank Lotierzo wrote, �Arguello mostly fought a somewhat pressure style. He didn't pressure his opponents like a Frazier or Duran; it was more a subtle type pressure like Joe Louis. Another thing Arguello shared with Louis was that they were vulnerable versus fighters who had fast feet. That's not saying they couldn't fight fighters that had good movement. It is verifying that fighters who moved against them usually fared the best. The fighters who brought the fight to Arguello are the ones who he defeated in the most devastating fashion.�

Alexis Arguello was born in Managua, Nicaragua in abject poverty. Like Roberto Duran he learned to fight on the tough streets of the inner Central American city of his birth. Arguello was taught the basics of boxing from a brother-in-law in Managua. Seeing boxing as an opportunity to escape the drudgery of a life of poverty, Alexis dedicated himself to the sport at the age of 14. Displaying a natural punch Alexis compiled an amateur record of 58-2 with 48 knockouts before turning pro at the age of 16. As a professional Alexis racked up a record of 36 wins with 29 knockouts while suffering only 2 early career losses fighting almost exclusively out of Managua during his first 5 years as a pro.


At age 21 he challenged for his first world title facing veteran WBA Featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel in the champions hometown of Panama. Marcel was a slick and clever outboxer who used his greater experience to stay out of range of Arguello�s heavier punches and box his way to a unanimous 15-round decision. After the bout Marcel retired never giving the young fighter a chance to avenge his heartbreaking loss.

Hard hitting former champion Ruben Olivares won the WBA title vacated by Marcel. Meanwhile Arguello put himself back into title contention by knocking out top contender Art Hafey and then winning the Central American Featherweight title by besting Oscar Aparisio. He was then granted a second title opportunity against the great Mexican world champion Olivares. It turned out to be a classic war with Olivares leading on the scorecards after 12 rounds. In the 13th a devastating left hook sent Olivares crashing to the canvas. Olivares got up but was soon finished by the explosive thin man. Alexis Arguello, age 22, was now featherweight champion of the world.

Arguello made 4 successful defenses of the Featherweight title before moving up to capture the 130 pound Jr. Lightweight championship. He faced an outstanding champion in Alfredo Escalera on Jan. 28, 1978 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Escalera had 10 successful defenses of his WBC Jr. Lightweight title and was no easy mark. It turned out to be a great fight that some hailed as �The Bloody Battle of Bayamon.� The fights Referee Arthur Mercante called it �the most brutal fight I have ever witnessed.� Escalera had his ears, nose and mouth busted but was rallying on the scorecards when Arguello caught him and finished him in the 13th round. Arguello had won his second divisional title. At age 25 he was in his physical prime as a fighter.

Alexis was at his peak at 130 pounds. He looked all but invincible in this weight class. He was physically stronger, and maintained the devastating punch that had made him such a dangerous featherweight. At junior lightweight he successfully defended the title 8 times defeating outstanding fighters such as Ruben Castillo, and future titleholders Bobby Chacon, Bazooka Limon and Rolando Navarette.

In 1981 Alexis Arguello decided to attempt something that had been done by only a few all time great fighters previously, that is become a triple crown champion by moving up to the 135 pound lightweight division. In London, England in front of a hostile crowd who was literally singing praises to WBC champion Jim Watt, Alexis Arguello dominated the southpaw champion in scoring a clear unanimous decision verdict to join Bob Fitzsimmons, Barney Ross, Tony Canzoneri, Henry Armstrong and Wilfred Benitez (who had won his triple crown the previous month) as boxing�s only 3 division champions in history to that time. Arguello was recognized as the best fighter in his weight class when he held the title in each of those divisions. Today multi-divisional champions are somewhat cheapened due to the existence of so many sanctioning bodies, but when Arguello won his triple crown it was considered a major accomplishment that ranked him with the all time greats of history.

Although Arguello was clearly considered the best lightweight in the world during his title reign he was not quite the awesome force he had been at 126 and 130 pounds. Arguello still carried a heavy punch but was not quite as devastating as he had been. He made up for this with his experience, ring smarts and calm in the ring. He was still a great champion successfully defending his title 4 times at 135. In 3 divisions Arguello won a total of 19 title fights covering a span of 8 years without loss in a championship fight.

Due to his success and looking for a large payday Alexis challenged undefeated Jr. Welterweight champion Aaron Pryor for the 140 pound championship on Nov 12, 1982 in Miami. Pryor was a fast, powerful, swarming puncher with a great chin. As expected Pryor started quickly but Arguello stayed right with him as they exchanged hard punches. Pryor had it going his way early and stunned Alexis several times. In the mid to late rounds Arguello seemed to be solving Pryor�s style as Alexis came on. In the 13th round Pryor was hurt by a sizzling right cross that violently snapped his head back and Aaron walked slowly back to his corner. Between rounds Pryor�s trainer, Panama Lewis, who would later be banned from boxing for cheating, said, �Hand me that bottle, no not that one, the special one I mix.� It was never proven what was �mixed� in that bottle, but whatever it was it was illegal as anything other than water is not permissible for use in the corner. Pryor came out with renewed energy in the 14th round caught Alexis against the ropes with a flurry of powerful punches and stopped him. Alexis had made a great fight, but fell short in his bid for a 4th divisional championship against one of boxing�s best fighters ever in that weight class.

The controversy over the fight forced the WBA to sanction a rematch. 10 months later they fought again. This time Pryor fought a smarter fight mixing in movement with his attack from all angles. The fight was fought at a very fast pace and Pryor wore down and stopped Alexis easier in the second bout, this time in 10 rounds. Arguello retired after those bouts although he would go on to make a couple of ill-fated comebacks.

Ring magazine rated Alexis Arguello as the # 1 Jr. Lightweight of all time in its all time divisional ratings in 1996, and among the 20 best fighters of the last 80 years in 2002, and among the 20 best punchers of all time in 2003. Cox�s Corner considers Arguello among the top 5 greatest featherweights and the top 10 lightweights of all time, and he probably deserves recognition as the greatest Jr. Lightweight Champion ever.

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