Re: A Arguello vs JC Chavez @ 135
I like Arguello's reach, sharp jabs and straight punching to carry him through in this one, but that presupposes that the scheduled distance is 15 rounds, the duration which Alexis was geared for during his championship career. He blunted the shorter Mancini's inside game most effectively, and ripped apart aggressive body punching specialist Roberto Elizondo with his back against the ropes.
Bubba Busceme had a clever idea. He continually rushed Alexis, flicked out multiple right jabs from the elbow at him, then retreated quickly before repeating that attack. This was something that might be expected of Maxie Rosenbloom. Fully realizing that Busceme was aiming to snatch a hometown decision with this low energy tactic, he bent his knees and slipped many of these light taps that others would have simply allowed to score. After five rounds, Flash Gordon had Busceme pitching a shutout, but the judges all had Arguello ahead by one, probably because his defensive moves rendered the challenger's aggression largely ineffective. (Yes, matches are won by throwing punches, but those punches have to land to score. Punchstat percentage statistics on Arguello/Busceme would have been interesting to know. Footage wouldn't be of much help here, as Alexis's back was to the camera much of the time he was slipping and ducking.) Arguello/Busceme demonstrated that Alex was not as easy a lightweight target as some might suppose.
During Arguello's prime, mobility was believed to be the key to defeating him (as it was with Louis), but nobody was ever able to sustain this well enough over the championship distance to have a chance at winning a decision. I don't recall any pundit suggesting that it was prudent to try taking him to the inside. He aimed for the sternum, boosting his accuracy. His right uppercut to the body put away Ganigan, and his hook downstairs took out Kobayashi, so we know he could knockout championship caliber competition with either hand downstairs. While he doesn't likely drop or stop Chavez, his skills, underrated versatility, endurance and toughness would have carried him through for the win.
Overlooked in his Miami loss to Pryor is the fact that he was able to accept and compete with Pryor's torrid pace and pressure into the championship rounds, even though he was ten pounds past his optimal weight, and at 30 years of age against a possibly juiced opponent who had just turned 27.
Upon reflection, I think Elizondo was Arguello's most devastating win at 135, and I remember "Squeaky" (did you ever hear Elizondo speak?) as being perhaps more aggressive than even Ganigan. Pressure, infighting and body punching was no recipe for defeating him.