Thursday, October 8, 2009

Requiem for a lightweight

If you grew up watching championship fights on TV during the 1970s and ’80s, you witnessed a golden age of Latino boxers.

Roberto Duran (Panamanian)... Carlos Palomino (Mexican)... Wilfred Benitez (Puerto Rican)... Alexis Arguello (Nicaraguan)...

On the Internet, dudes full of testosterone and race pride debate who were the best Latino fighters. I’m not going there.

But for Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to share something I just recently learned about Alexis Arguello, a former champ in the featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight divisions.

He transitioned into government in his home country. Last November, Arguello was elected mayor of Managua, Nicaragua. He’s the only boxing champion I ever heard of who got elected to political office.

In July of this year, Arguello died of a bullet wound to the chest. Nicaragua’s Sandinista government says the gunshot was self-inflicted.

But Arguello’s son, Alexis Arguello, Jr., believes it was murder: “This was not a suicide. ... My dad had been through three failed marriages, alcoholism, crack, the worst things someone could go through. But he would not do this.”

In memory of Alexis Arguello, here’s a YouTube clip featuring the end of one of his classic bouts... a 1981 brawl versus Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini:

1 comment:

intrepidideas said...

Okay, I got to ask the question - How many people shoot themselves in the chest on purpose? Doesn't seem the logical choice for a suicide. I suppose if you're really vain, really tough, and go for the heart. But Damn, that's got to hurt a lot longer. I'll always remember his two fights with Aaron Pryor.... The whole Panama Lewis "give him the bottle that I mixed... the special bottle" routine. Aaron Pryor knocked him out... Then after protests and findings of an illegal substance in the water there was a rematch scheduled. Pryor knocked him out again I believe. Nice post... Thanks for the boxing memories.