ALEXIS ARGUELLO grew up in Managua, Nicaragua. When the communist Sandinista regime took over after a bloody civil war in 1979, the governemt seized his property and bank account. One of his brothers was killed fighting against the Sandinistas. Arguello, who moved to Miami during his career, returned home and briefly fought on the side of the Contras.
From a boxing standpoint, his best fighting, though, was done in the ring. He met 14 world champions in his career. At 5-10, he was extremelly tall for a featherweight. His height and reach provided him the kind of leverage that resulted in punching power. He turned pro in 1968 and within six years earned a bout against Ernesto Marcel for the WBA featherweight title in Panama City. Arguello lost a decision but earned another title try against fellow Hall-of-Famer Ruben Olivares.
Arguello was trailing on points when he knocked Olivares out in the 13th round. After four title defenses, he moved up and won his second title by knocking out WBC super featherweight champion Alfredo Escalara in 1978.
After six title defenses, Arguello joined the 135-pound ranks. In 1981, he decioned Jim Watt to win the WBC lightweight crown and he became the sixth man in boxing history to win title in three weight divisions. After four title defenses, Arguello sought yet another challenge.
His goal was to become boxing's first four-division champion when he squared off against WBA junior welterweight king Aaron Pryor. The warriors met before 23,800 fans at Miami's Orange Bowl in 1982. In a classic fight. Pryor scored a dramatic 14th-round knockout.
They met again one year later and Pryor stopped Arguello for a second time and Alexis announced his retirement. But like many fighters, he returned to the ring. He came back several times, winning one fight each in 1985, '86, and '95. In January of 1995, Arguello returned to action again, this time losing a decision to unknown Scott Walker.