ALEXIS ARGUELLO w rsf 14 RAY MANCINI
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.