My two meetings with Alexis Arguello!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (July 5, 2009)    
I first met the boxing great Alexis Arguello in Easton, Pennsylvania on January 13th of 1982. How do I remember that date? I have the picture he gave me signed “the three times world champion Alexis A, Champ”. I still remember him in his Army field jacket, slender and handsome. He was preparing for his July 31st defense against Kevin Rooney.

“One thing I regret moving up to 135 was I never had the chance to fight Salvatore Sanchez,” said Arguello. “We were both WBC champ’s at different weights and I could no longer stay at 130. If he would have moved up from 126 it would have been a great fight,” he added.

While in Tucson, Arizona on April 12th of 1980 the WBC champion Salvatore Sanchez was defeating Ruben Castillo over 15 rounds by decision. Several weeks later in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Arguello was stopping Rolando Navarette in the 5th round. It would be the last super featherweight fight for Arguello. It was a time they could have met but it wasn’t meant to be. I remember on September 13th of that year being in the home of Cus D’Amato in the Catskill Mountains of New York watching Sanchez struggle with Patrick Ford taking a majority decision that I didn’t think he deserved. There were three brothers up there at the time named Hilton from Montreal with their father. Funny how the short term memory goes with age but you can remember 30 years ago very clearly.

I met Arguello for the second time April 26th of 1982 at Atlantic City where five days later he would meet D’Amato’s fighter Kevin Rooney. Almost two years later I would have the pleasure of putting Rooney in a rematch with Terry Crawley in Scranton on April 11th of 1984. Rooney after losing to Arguello lost to Crawley at the end of the 6th round due to a bad gash over his left eye. Cus said “put him in with Crawley so I can see where he is in his career.” The fight ended in an 8 round draw.

Getting back to Arguello, I have a picture that was taken with him, Ernie Butler (original trainer of Larry Holmes) and his fighter Bobby Johnson in Bally’s at Atlantic City. Arguello in his blue robe had just worked out. What a gentlemen and what a gracious person to be around. While there one of the members of the New Jersey commission had told me about the last time Arguello was at Bally’s and defeated Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in April of 1981. “Arguello was sitting on a metal chair at the weigh-in with his legs extended and his arms folded centering in on the double door where you had to enter the room. In comes Mancini with his entourage busting through the doors. Arguello’s s eyes followed Mancini across the room while the rest of his body never moved. He was like a cat on the prowl for his prey,” he said. That was the other Arguello just before fight time. Anyone who had the fortune to have met him will always remember him. Rest in peace!

Ken at:

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