*Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor

Aaron Pryor died in early October and some news sources covered it and some did not. The ones that did most often mentioned the problems he had with drugs or his two bouts with the Legendary Triple Champion Alexis Arguello. Those events are true and yes his first fight with Alexis was tainted by a “black bottle” that was mixed by his ultimately disgraced corner man Panama Lewis and did result in a 14th round knockout for Pryor. However, Aaron was a great fighter in his own right and deserves the legendary title as well.

I watched all his fights starting in the 1970’s. The “Hawk” was a relentless and determined predator. In the introductions of each fight he would raise his right fist and point it like a weapon (it was) at his opponent and give them a cold, intense stare that pierced right through them, when the bell rang he ran across the ring and launched an assault that did not cease until his foe crumbled to the canvas from an avalanche of blows. Occasionally, they would catch him coming in and he was knocked down – for a moment, and that would only result in an even more intense assault and unconsciousness for his overwhelmed foe.

Aaron Pryor’s professional record was 39-1 with 35 knockouts. His only loss was to Bobby Joe Young a once promising welterweight who’s only claim to fame is to stop Pryor late in his career, and only one fighter – Nick Furlano from the Italian Section of Toronto went the full 15 rounds with him losing a unanimous decision. Pryor who hailed from Cincinnati, Ohio had an amateur record of 204-16 for a combined 243-17. One of his many amateur victories was over Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns who would go on to win six World Titles. Aaron was the Light Welterweight/Super-Light- weight Champion of the world for five years form 1980-1985 winning his title from another great fighter, Columbian Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes. Other notable wins were over Dujuan Johnson, Gaetan Hart, Julio “El Diablito” Valdez and Gary Hinton; you can look up his record at boxrec.com and view his fights on You Tube to get a better appreciation of him. Aaron passed away at age 60 from a heart attack and we the boxing community have lost another great one and his family lost a good man and his wife Frankie lost a life partner. Rest in peace Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor – the bell has finally tolled ten for you – as it had for so many of your opponents.

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