Alexis Arguello

The opponent

Ray Mancini (White shoes) is fighting out of Youngstown, Ohio. Following in the footsteps of his father Lenny who was a top contender in the 1940’s, before taking a wound in WW2 that cut his career short. Mancini is the number 3 lightweight in the world, he is a very tough body puncher with a great chin and mean left hook on the inside. He is going to try and get up close and personal with the much taller fighter. He is only 20 years old in this fight and still had his own parts to play in boxing history, both joyous and tragic.

Alexis “el flaco esplosivo/ the explosive thin man” Arguello

Owning possibly the most accurate nick name in the history of the sport, Alexis Arguello was a tall lanky guy with a rocket of a straight right hand. See for yourself He was also an incredibly crafty boxer who used every inch of his reach advantage, but he could brawl with the best of them if he had to. He is defending his 3rd championship here after winning titles in lower weight classes.

Controlling distance

Arguello is putting his reach advantage to good use here, staying busy on the outside with the jab. By jabbing while moving to Mancini’s right he is taking Mancini’s best punch away from him. When Mancini attempts to launch his own jab Arguello drops his right hand to counter with a right uppercut to the body. Arguello continues jab and circle to his right but Mancini is aware the jab is coming so he ducks underneath and tries to counter with a hard right hand, But Arguello knows it’s the only punch he can land based on the distance so he ducks the punch and circles off before Mancini can land the hook to the body.

Mancini goes to work

Arguello steps in behind the jab with a long left hook that falls short s as Mancini shuffles back. He then reels off a jab/right hand/body hook landing the last two before Arguello lands a a left uppercut. Mancini ducks down and Arguello tries to punish him for with another uppercut but misses. Arguello throws a jab and Mancini uses his miss as an opportunity to land a hook to the body before backing out to jabbing range.

The check hook

Mancini comes rushing at Arguello only to walk face first into a hard left hook that forces him to reset. Arguello misjudges the distance and misses with another hook. Mancini rushes again trying to land his left hook to the head and body but takes another one. Arguello steps back, lands a jab and body uppercut before Mancini walks into yet another hard hook. The beautiful thing about the retreating hook is the impact forces your opponent to the right and due to the way the punch is thrown it becomes very easy to pivot on the lead foot and step off you opponents line of attack, forcing them to turn and face you before they can launch another attack. Also because they are stepping into the punch the power of it is greatly amplified. Check hooks are an out-fighters best friend when your opponent tries to close the gap.

Hooking off the jab

Alexis is using his jab here but Mancini is trying to time the jab and close the distance as Arguello is retracting his punch. So Arguello start to immediately follow the jab with the left hook and Mancini again gets caught as he is coming in.

The right hand finally makes an appearance

After walking into all those short, powerful left hooks Mancini is forced to stay on the outside or take more hard punches. Here he is jabbing with Arguello which is never a great idea with a taller fighter. Arguello still circling away from Mancini’s left hook throws a jab which Mancini tries to slip and follows through with a sharp right hand that catches him clean. Part of the reason Arguello gets so much power on this punch is his long reach allows him to punch through his target. Also watch his hips as he throws this punch. He follows through getting every once of his weight moving into Mancini as he punches.

Using the forearm

After Arguello throws the 1-2 Mancini tries to close the distance but Arguello gets his lead hand in between Mancini and himself. In grappling this is called a cross face. It used used for many of the same reasons there as well (although it is much nastier on the ground) to keep distance between you and your opponent. Arguello catches him with a left hook as Mancini tries to come in once again. Floyd Mayweather does this all the time to anyone who tries to pressure him. It’s a great tactic and hugely useful to an outside fighter.

Defense and Ring IQ

Mancini jabs Arguello into the ropes before stepping in with a left hook to the head. Mancini follows up with a right hand that falls just short as Arguello gives ground before throwing a jab that Arguello slips. The men come together and watch Mancini’s left hand. Arguello knows it’s his best weapon so he uses his right hand to tie it up before circling back out into the center of the ring. He is brilliant at shutting down that punch and keeping the fight where he wants it.

Arguello gets the knock down

Arguello’s superior hand speed allows him to beat Mancini to the punch, right as he was about to throw his own hard right hand. This is why textbook boxers tend to lead with the jab. As Mancini loads up his big right hand Arguello’s jab gets there first, with his own huge right right after.


I’m actually shocked Mancini wasn’t out cold from this. He had all of his weight going into that punch and so did Arguello. This is the worst type of collision that happens in the fight game. Hell of a chin on Mancini.

Mancini never gives up

Even after that hellacious right hand he keeps coming forward with a two fisted attack, Arguello is still looking for that check hook as he comes in, but he finds a beautiful counter uppercut/straight right here.

The stoppage

Argello steps in behind a big left hook that wobbles Mancini before following up with more hard hooks. He puts him down with a beautiful straight right hand and the ref waves off the fight.
Alexis Arguello was also one of the grestest sportsmen ever to fight. After the fight Arguello said “It was the best fight so far this year, my friend,” Arguello said to Mancini. He then told the press, “I think my heart is special. But his heart is bigger than I have. … Someday this young man will be champion.”And less then a year later he won the title that Arguello had vacated to go up in weight again. Here’s an awesome documentary on Mancini :

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