Alexis Arguello, 1952 - too soon

Sonny Palermo

New member
They are arguably the biggest names in their sports, past and present.
They are the players most recognized when they go out in public, they sell the most jerseys, their names transcend the sport and they are known to non-fans, too.
In baseball, Yogi, Ripken, A-Rod.
In basketball, Shaq, Jordan and Kobe.
In football, Jim Brown, Brett Favre.
In hockey, Gretzky, Crosby.
In boxing, Ali, Tyson, Leonard, Pacquiao.

All of them, with the exception of Yogi, are both loved and hated by fans of their sport.

My point is that it is rare for an athlete to rise to the top and be loved, universally.

Tiger, Ruth, Chamberlain, LT, Orr – they all have their detractors.
But every once in a while we get an anomaly, a guy that is respected, if not loved by all.
Alexis Arguello was such a man.
In winning and losing he showed dignity and class.

Today, they’re putting the man in the ground today, his life over at age 57.
And the world is a lesser place.

When fans and sports writers want to give an example of the true meaning of sportsmanship, an often noted example is Arguello after he defeated Ray Mancini:

“Boom Boom” Mancini was a huge crowd favorite, and had the kind of back story that Hollywood and fans love: his father was predicted to become a lightweight champion until a wound sustained in WWII ended his career. The son took it on himself to fulfill that lost destiny, and had the skills to make it possible. His profile and popularity were built through national appearances on Saturday afternoon TV, and in 1981 with his father seated ringside he finally got his shot at the WBC lightweight title, held by Arguello. He was in control early, but Arguello was one of the greatest lightweights of all time, and in the 14th he KO’d the youngster from Youngstown.

In this scenario in the world of sports today, the winner would run a few circles around the ring, then climb the ropes and pound his chest while waving to the fans. But that was not the kind of man Arguello was. After the ref stopped the bout he went to Manicini’s corner, where the loser sat dejected in defeat, with tears in his eyes – not because he lost, but because he felt he let his father down. Arguello kneeled before the kid and told him to hold his head high, told him he was a great fighter and that he would be champion some day.

That is sportsmanship and class unseen in the world of sports today, especially boxing.

I am a boxing fan. Alexis Arguello is one of the reasons why.

I love boxing so much that I moved to Vegas to be closer to the action, to attend the biggest bouts in person, to be part of the events, the excitement, the history. Before moving to Vegas I attended Monday Night Football’s 25th Anniversary party at the Marriot Marquis in Manhattan. It was an invite only affair, and I lucked into one. I found myself surrounded by many of the biggest names in sports. The friends I went with gathered autographs and photos of themselves with some of their sports heroes. Not me. The few times when I have met public figures from sports, music, movies or TV I have been unimpressed, it’s no big deal to me. Until one evening in Las Vegas, when I came to understand what fans felt when they had these photo op/autograph request moments.

I was at a post-fight press conference. I was listening to a fighter answering questions from the press, when a man tapped my left shoulder and asked if anyone was sitting in the empty chair next to mine. I glanced at him and said, “No, it’s empty, help yourself.” I had a delayed reaction – I went back to listening to the press conference for a few seconds and then I did a double take as it registered in my mind. I looked at the man seated next to me and he smiled, as if he knew exactly what I had just experienced and had in fact seen it many times before.

I didn’t want an autograph.
I didn’t want to have a photo taken of us standing next to each other.
I knew exactly what I wanted, which was simply to say, “Thank you. It was a pleasure watching you perform.”
And so that’s what I did.
And Alexis Arguello looked at my name tag, offered his hand, and said, “You’re welcome Sonny, nice to meet you.”

Yeah. A class act all the way, too rarely seen in the world today, sports or other-wise . . .
 
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southbaysurf

New member
Arguello was a class act and one of my all-time favorites. He always had kind words for his opposition after the fact and they for him. The Pryor fights were epic. I remember about 10-15 years ago on a radio show in LA, he gave out his address in Nicaragua on the air and said anyone who came to visit the country could look him up.

There is a SI article from the mid 70's that talks about the hardships his family had and how his dad had attempted suicide as well. Perhaps it hit me especially hard because I'm in LA, but the dichotomy between the coverage for Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, Alexis, Karl Malden (all of whom meant more to me) + every young American soldier dieing abroad, and everyone else who dies without their due is ABSOLUTELY sickening to me. That is before I even begin a diatribe on the cost to the city of this pedo's funeral.
 

Sonny Palermo

New member
I was hoping Elton did a remake of one of his hits for Jackson,
like he did with "Candles in the Wind" for Princess Di.

He could turn "Don't let the sun go down on me" into
"Let your son go down on me and I'll give you 20 million in hush money"
 
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