Arguello has been reaching most of his life. In 1974 he won the WBA featherweight title. Four years later the WBC junior lightweight championship was his. And in 1981 came the lightweight crown. He is one of only seven men in boxing history to win three different titles.
Arguello began reaching once more on Oct. 25, when he stopped a journeyman named Pat Jefferson in five rounds. The Costello bout, for which he earned upwards of $150,000, brought him a step closer. Actually, Arguello almost called off the fight 20 minutes before the bell, after the Costello camp complained that his hands were too heavily wrapped. Costello's people insisted that they be rewrapped, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission agreed.
"I won't fight," Arguello, a man of immense pride, snarled when told of the commission's stance. "No fight."
It took Don Kahn, an assistant to trainer Eddie Futch, two minutes of muted but intense conversation to convince Arguello to go along with the order. But the boxer was still seething. For the first nine minutes he fought his own rage as much as Costello. He lost those rounds on all three officials' cards.
"I was so tight, I couldn't do anything," Arguello said later. "But then I told myself to cool down. When the anger went away, I was fine."
Arguello would like one more 10-round fight before challenging for the 140-pound title. "But," he said, "I will leave it up to my manager. Now I am going to take a long rest with my wife and children."
Miller has already decided: "If he is going to make history," Miller says, "let's write it now."