A number of years again the rise of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez as a uncommon flyweight famous person once more put the nation of Nicaragua on the boxing map, however in truth it was some 4 a long time in the past that “El Flaco Explosivo,” Alexis Arguello, gave that nation its first pugilistic hero. Arguello not solely served as fistic inspiration to a swath of Nicaraguan youth, however would in truth change into Gonzalez’s mentor, coach and good friend earlier than Alexis’ loss of life in 2009. Fairly actually, with out Alexis Arguello, there could be no Roman Gonzalez.
When Arguello chopped down the nice Ruben Olivares in 1974, he turned Nicaragua’s first world champion and commenced a formidable eight-year run throughout which he fought 42 instances, dropping solely as soon as. Many a warrior fell earlier than the punishing, stunning energy that got here from the slight body that gave Arguello his nickname, “The Explosive Skinny Man.” Extensively admired for his class and sportsmanship, Alexis was one in every of boxing’s extra well-known faces with a number of of his title bouts broadcast on community tv. On Might 22, 1982, the victime du jour was, sadly, fellow good man Andy Ganigan.
Arguello was in full stride, having lately change into solely the sixth man in boxing historical past to win world title belts in three totally different weight courses. He was trying to make the fourth protection of the light-weight title he took from Jim Watt, whereas Ganigan, a crippling puncher from Hawaii dubbed “The Hawaiian Punch,” was browsing a wave of notoriety after having steamrolled the favored Sean O’Grady in his earlier outing.
April third was reserved for the Arguello vs Ganigan broadcast on CBS and eccentric promoter Don King introduced a number of weeks out that his plan was to finally match Arguello with featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez. On paper, that was a bout that made sense. However Arguello vs Ganigan was then delayed when a respiratory virus affected the champion’s coaching with famed grasp Eddie Futch, and the match was then rescheduled for Might at The Aladdin on line casino in Las Vegas. True to kind, Arguello advised the press beforehand, “I really feel sorry for Andrew as a result of he was prepared and ready the primary time.”
Ganigan grinned in his pre-fight section on CBS, telling famed coach and commentator Gil Clancy, “You by no means know what might occur.” That was nearer to the reality, and the place the niceties ceased.
Each fighters started by sizing the opposite up and never uncorking a lot, however the environment was awful with potential power. When Ganigan acquired his southpaw proper hook working, Arguello picked up on it and countered in variety together with his hook. Arguello apparently didn’t learn the setup for Ganigan’s left hand although, and located himself decked within the ultimate minute of the opener by a shot he didn’t see. When he acquired up, Arguello responded to Ganigan’s makes an attempt at ending issues by accelerating his personal offense and even pushing the challenger again moments after rising, acknowledging the injury executed. Arguello’s smirk on the bell was fleeting, however advised he knew he was in for greater than a routine title protection.
Spherical two was a bit totally different, as Arguello’s left hooks robbed Ganigan of his will to press successfully. The challenger’s method started deteriorating, and Arguello picked up on the offensive rushes and lunging left palms, then contained them with cautious maneuvering. However within the opening moments of spherical three, fuller arsenals have been realized because the fighters planted their toes and put their weight into some actually hurtful punches and each have been shifted by the opposite’s energy. Halfway by means of the third, a snapping proper from Arguello avenged his earlier blemish and despatched Ganigan down. Arguello’s killer intuition was curtailed when Ganigan acquired up and instantly started battling again, rocking Arguello with a collection of punches earlier than consuming a proper hand that wobbled him in variety on the bell.
In The Artwork of Warfare, Solar Tzu mentioned, “He who’s prudent and lies in look ahead to an enemy who is just not, will probably be victorious.”
As Ganigan flicked jabs and tried to lure the champion into snacking on extra left palms, Arguello lower the ring off, taking away Ganigan’s choice to field his approach by means of the spherical. Twice in spherical 4 the challenger stumbled from clear proper palms, however he remained as harmful as a cornered snake, able to betray any semblance of consolation and belief instantly, even when stepping to his left and into vary of Arguello’s perilous proper hand. The blood from Ganigan’s nostril on the shut of the spherical was, in hindsight, telling.
Close to the beginning of the fifth, the challenger’s fluttering jabs have been ceased by a single, sharp Arguello jab that moved the Hawaiian’s total physique and the response was a flurry of punches punctuated by a proper hook that clipped Arguello’s chin. Ganigan’s nook, seemingly miles from hazard compared, shouted to their cost, “Don’t wait! Jab, left hand!” Ganigan listened however was rewarded within the ultimate minute with a proper coming the opposite approach that made a large number of his face.
It was now evident that Ganigan was not attempting to do rather more than keep upright. Sensing his alternative, and as if in hurry to resolve the competition earlier than the bell, Arguello abruptly overwhelmed Ganigan with a ten punch mixture capped off by a strong proper hand as Ganigan crumpled to the canvas to be counted out. It was Arguello’s nineteenth straight championship win, the lone blemish in these unforgettable eight years being a detailed loss to the tough Vilomar Fernandez that was later avenged.
Nothing however respect was proven through the post-fight interviews, each males acknowledging the quirks and qualities that made for an explosive assembly. Ganigan completed his interview by merely stating, “I shall return.” He did, however solely as soon as, to undergo defeat to Jimmy Paul.
5 kilos north of the light-weight restrict, Aaron Pryor waited for Arguello and he would create his personal mark in historical past by defeating the Nicaraguan hero not as soon as, however twice, each clashes unforgettable wars. A Sanchez bout by no means materialized as the nice featherweight champion misplaced his life in a automobile crash that August. Thus, a formidable knockout on that Might afternoon in Las Vegas in opposition to a wily Islander proved the final nice victory of Arguello’s prime. — Patrick Connor