On This Day: Alexis Arguello turns back the spirited challenge of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini


Ray Mancini was determined to win for the sake of his father but Alexis Arguello had other ideas

October 3, 1981; Ballys Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
WHILE Alexis Arguello was winning his first world championship in 1974, a 13-year-old Ray Mancini was writing poems about his father, a former fighter young Ray was besotted with. ‘I touch every part of this man’s face, I hold this man’s body when we embrace. I cry every tear this man cries, I try every task that this man tries,’ Mancini wrote. Lenny “Boom Boom” Mancini never challenged for a world title but Ray, aged only 20, aimed to dethrone fearsome WBA lightweight king, Arguello, and present the belt to his father. Mancini came with the desire but Arguello – in his 16th world title fight – brought the experience and superior skills. What followed was a gruelling and punishing encounter. Mancini should have been rescued before the end but, as The New York Times reported, “this was a fight for throwing in handkerchiefs, not towels”.

DID YOU KNOW? Team Mancini threatened to pull out due to a Nicaraguan judge being used.

WATCH OUT FOR: The calm manner in which Arguello breaks down his lively challenger. A masterclass.

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