The mayor of Nicaragua’s capital, three-time world boxing champion Alexis Arguello, was found dead in his home early Wednesday morning from a gunshot wound to his chest. He was 57.
Local media reported that the Nicaraguan sports icon committed suicide, but there was no official confirmation. The news led the government to decree three days of national mourning and President Daniel Ortega to postpone a trip to Panama to attend Ricardo Martinelli’s inauguration on Wednesday. Known as “El Flaco Explosivo” — the explosive thin man — Arguello won three world titles boxing at 130 pounds. Over the course of his career, which started in 1968, he compiled a 82-8 record, with 65 of his victories by knockout. Arguello was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was considered one of the best boxers of all time from Nicaragua and was selected to carry the Nicaraguan flag at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Arguello was elected in November as Managua’s mayor with 51 percent of the vote in a contest that was decried by some as fraudulent. Local media reported that Arguello suffered from depression. He had recently taken a leave of absence from his mayoral duties, the newspaper La Jornada reported.
Supermarket tycoon sworn in as Panama president
A 1985 profile of Arguello in Sports Illustrated painted a picture of a troubled man with extremes of wealth and bankruptcy, who found calm only in boxing. The story said that in the middle of a brief retirement in 1984, Arguello contemplated killing himself with an automatic pistol. “I don’t know why, but I feel fulfilled when I’m boxing,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I think I am a reincarnated gladiator.” He was one of a few boxers to have won titles in three different weight classes. One of his most famous fights was his 14-round loss to Aaron Pryor in 1982. Had he won, Arguello would have become the first boxer to win a title in four different divisions. Before being elected mayor of Managua seven months ago, Arguello had served as vice mayor since 2005. He resigned that post to run for mayor under the banner of Ortega’s party, Sandinista National Liberation Front.