Alexis Arguello: Amazing!

Abel Holtz Stadium, Miami Beach, Florida, USA, 09/26/1986

The Preamble to Bramble

I got lucky that night; I ended up sitting next to Alexis Arguello. By happenstance my seat was bumped up next to the VIP section; we sat right next to each other separated by a velvet rope, he was in the VIP section; I wasn’t.

Throughout the night everyone wanted to shake Arguello’s hand, never giving the man a moment of peace, yet never once did I see him show any sign of impatience, greeting each well-wisher with a smile and taking the time to treat each like an individual, even when a fan back in the ‘cheap seats’ would call out his name, he would turn, find that person in the crowd and then flash him the “love sign.”

I felt the most respectful thing I could do was to leave the man alone, so I made it a point not to ask to shake his hand or request an autograph; only occasionally did I make a comment about the action in front of us, as any fight fan might do, and even then he would always acknowledge my observation with a reply or a nod.

At the evening’s end, as we were all trying to exit, a woman approached Arguello and asked if he would mind posing for a picture with her young son. He of course replied yes, and as he stood next to the boy it became painfully obvious to all of us that the woman was ‘camera challenged’ and after several attempts couldn’t get the camera to work. Instead of walking on, it was Arguello who stepped forward and took the camera from the woman’s hand, looked it over, and reloaded the film correctly so the camera would work, (it was one of those old type cameras with a cartridge). Some guy who was standing next to me, watching as I was, who must have been as moved by the man’s behavior as I was, quipped: “Amazing, do you believe this guy’s patience’s, he’s even fixing the woman’s god damn camera for her.

As we continued towards the exit Arguello couldn’t take five steps before another hand would be pushed in front of him and yet he still continued to pause, smile and acknowledge every fan; he even kept turning around when someone in the distance would call his name.

For almost four straight hours I watched this man and never once did he make any fan that approached him, or called out his name, feel unappreciated; the man’s graciousness was amazing to behold.

Rest in peace, sir.