September 6th, 2010 By Pedro Fernandez
NOT EASY TO WRITE ABOUT ALEXIS THE GREAT!
San Francisco, CA- While gazing through some pictures I had shot at Alexis Arguello’s house in Nicaragua some 11 years ago, I realized that there are still some aspects of Arguello’s life where I still can’t go as a person and writer. Mainly, his death. Then I looked at some notes and wondered if just writing about Alexis sans mentioning his demise might be somewhat therapeutic.
ALEXIS WAS THE “P4P” KING FOR A TIME
For those of you that aren’t hip to “El Flako Explosivo,” Alexis “The Explosive Thinman” Arguello was a Nicaraguan born fighter who ruled at 126, 130, & 135, this before being thwarted at 140 lbs. twice by Aaron Pryor. He went 82-8, with 65 KOs in a career that began with a TKO 1 loss in 1968 to Cachoroo Amaya in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital of which Alexis was Mayor of at the time of his passing July 1, 2009.
OLD ALADDIN HOTEL HAD GREAT THEATER VENUE
Today we go back in time to May 1982 and a fight Arguello had with Filipino KO artist Andy Ganigan. The brutality that I witnessed while sitting on the floor next to the CBS TV broadcast team, this was sanctioned violence at a level I had not seen before in person and up close.
Running the show at CBS in regards to boxing was the great Mort Sharnik. A people person, Mort was the last person Davey Moore talked to before he collapsed (dying two days later) in his dressing room after a 1963 fight with Sugar Ramos.
MORT LIKED THE LIGHTER WEIGHTS
Two of the fighters that Mort & CBS were into included Alexis and Sean O’Grady. Fighting out of Oklahoma City, OK, Sean was managed by his father Pat O’Grady. If I were to say that Pat was one of the rottenest scoundrels in boxing history, I wouldn’t be wrong. At least one time, O’Grady had this Mexican National fighting Sean in Oklahoma City. Instead of paying him, old man O’Grady called the Immigration & Naturalization Service who grabbed the guy up and deported him.
HALLOWEEN DAY FIGHT AN “O’GRADY HORROR SHOW”
Pat and Mort had Sean on CBS TV October 31, 1981 to face 1976 Olympic Gold winner Howard Davis. Davis, as slick a mover and sticker as you can get, Pat made a move that he thought was smart when he had a 16-foot ring constructed. The only way I can put this is to say that Pat O’Grady really took pride in f*****g people. I mean he really got off on it. That phone booth sized ring, he figured would surely take the wheels off the Davis wagon.
NOT THE RING TO FACE FILIPINO PUNCHER IN
There was only one problem, Davis pulled out some 72 hours prior and the scramble was on to find a last minute foe to face O’Grady on CBS. In stepped Andrew Ganigan, a Filipino southpaw with a record of 33-3, 29 KOs. A 5-1 underdog, and again a huge puncher, Andy hurt Sean early with the left cross. As of the 2:08 mark of round two, Andy had decked him thrice for the win. The ring that Pat had specially designed for the runner Davis, it came back to haunt him as Sean couldn’t get away from the punches of the Hawaiian based Pinoy.
TOMORROW PART II: GANIGAN & ARGUELLO GO “NUCLEAR”