Alexis Arguello Dies: Former Boxing Champion and Mayor of Managua
Alexis Arguello, mayor of Managua, Nicaragua, and former boxing champion, was found dead at age 57 the morning of Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Arguello was discovered at home with a gunshot wound in his chest, and an autopsy is pending. The death was confirmed by presidential spokesperson Rosario Murillo.
Arguello was considered the best junior lightweight and sixth-best lightweigt of the 20th century, according to an Associated Press expert panel in 1999. Known as "The Explosive Thin Man", Arguello became a professional boxer in 1968, losing his first bout but becoming increasingly successful thereafter. He earned the WBA featherweight title through a 13th round knockout of future Hall of Famer Ruben Olivares, and became the sixth boxer in the world to win titles in three weight classes.
Arguello had several comebacks throughout his career, acheiving a record of 82-8, including 65 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992, and retired in 1995.
After carrying the flag for Nicaragua at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Arguello decided to enter politics. In spite of past battles with the Sandinista government for having seized his property in the 1980s, the former boxer ran for mayor of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, in November 2008, defeating opponent Eduardo Montealegre while facing accusations of vote fraud.
President Daniel Ortega canceled a trip to Panama--where he was to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ricardo Martinelli--in honour of Arguello.
"We are upset," said Murillo, who declined to provide details about the death. "This is a heartbreaking announcement. He was the champion of the poor, an example of forgiveness and reconciliation."