The Missed Challenge: Aaron Pryor

By Cain Bradley on October 9, 2016
The Missed Challenge: Aaron Pryor
Aaron Pryor missed the opportunity for the big fight that could have changed his life.

Pryor’s life, from childhood to death, was full of challenges but he deserved to have a few more of them in the ring that he devoted his heart to…

Aaron Pryor died Sunday morning after a prolonged battle with heart disease. I surely do not need to tell you what a great fighter “The Hawk” was. I had Pryor to beat the great Julio Cesar Chavez in a recent article. That makes him the de facto greatest light welterweight of all time. Maybe the résumé makes it difficult to believe. Two wins over Alexis Arguello and one over Antonio Cervantes are his highlights. So much of what made Pryor impressive can only be seen by watching the great man. The ferocity and aggression is almost unmatched with non top pressure. His chin was legendary and Buddy LaRosa remembers a dentist marveling at the jaw structure of Pryor which made it so tough. A pressure style and a brilliant ability to box and move usually do not go hand in hand but Pryor had that ability if so required. He beat Thomas Hearns in an attempt to qualify for the 1976 Olympics but lost in the final to Howard Davis Jr. who was the eventual gold medalist.

Unable to get the fights he wanted, Pryor would retire after the second Arguello fight. When he returned not long after, he claimed to have meant he was resting not retiring. A couple more defenses saw Pryor beat overmatched opponents. However his life was beginning to spiral and he was stripped by the IBF for failing to defend his title. Aaron had fallen into a deep addiction to crack cocaine. He first tried this only a few days after his great win over Arguello. It did not matter that he still had a few bouts left, Pryor would show little interest and even lose his undefeated record. His first arrest came in 1987 but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. In 1991, he spent three months and 12 days in a prison facility having pled guilty to drug abuse. It did not take Pryor long until he was back on the streets. Depressed and homeless he barely weighed 100 lbs. He held a gun to his head. He held a knife to his stomach and prayed for the courage to thrust in. A few months later he was rushed to hospital. He has bleeding ulcers which he barely survived and has a scar to this day which is two inches wide. Since then he has maintained a clean lifestyle with constant visits to the church.

Aaron is really a what-could-have-been. After, and even prior to, the Arguello bout he had a chance for life changing bouts. Ray “Boom Boom”Mancini was the first name mentioned. It sounds like a recipe for an incredible fight. Two aggressive fighters who would take the fight to each other with power and a chin. Pryor was the better boxer and would have been the bigger man. It would have made him a load of money and he would have been favorite. The biggest money bouts were around welterweight for most of his career. A bout with Sugar Ray Leonard was agreed but Ray detached his retina and would announce his retirement. He would return from that retirement eventually. Leonard would have been favorite, he is one of the top ten boxers of all time. However, Duran gave him hell in their first fight. Pryor threw more punches and had the ability to box and land his shots. You have to give him every chance. He beat Tommy Hearns in the amateurs and was one of very few men who could likely have stood up to his power. If he could do stand up to the power and get past the jab he could definitely have beaten Hearns. What about Benitez and Duran? Fights that Pryor could have won. His career is one of missed opportunities. He missed the opportunity for the big fight that could have changed his life. Aaron Pryor would have probably given it all for a chance to prove himself in that company. It was not about money for Aaron, he blew it all anyway. It was the respect, about being the best. His life, from childhood to death, was full of challenges but he deserved to have a few more of them in the ring that he devoted his heart to.

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Aaron Pryor Vs Antonio Cervantes Rds 1 2

Aaron Pryor Vs Antonio Cervantes Rds 3 4 & Postfight

Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello I - Nov 12, 1982 - Entire fight - Rounds 1 - 14

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  1. Pete The Sneak 05:06am, 10/12/2016

    I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart broken by a boxing match until Pryor beat my all time Fave Alexis Arguello in that first fight. Till this day I refuse to ever see the replay of that battle…With that said, Pryor was a bad ass and the epitomy of tougness. I too felt he got short changed by SRL in never getting that big fight he truly deserved. Eric (Real Eric that is) is on point with his comments about Pryor being overshadowed by SRL, Hearns and Duran back in those times. What an unbelieveable fighter he was. RIP HAWK!!...Peace.

  2. Eric 03:31pm, 10/11/2016

    Pat Benetar has many songs I can relate to because if you read between the lines a lot of them are about masturbation, something I could write books about. You know, tunes like Love Is A Battlefield, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Promises In The Dark and I Need A Lover. Songs like that really resonate within my heart, not to mention my hands. I’m dexterous with both of them. I prefer to bat with the my right hand, but I’ve been known to go lefty once in a while just to spice things up. That and talking to myself on this site are what make life worth living. Hey, did you know the Germans themselves bombed Dresden just to create a distraction for the Allied Forces? Serious I wouldn’t make up this shit.

  3. Eric 09:33am, 10/11/2016

    Hasbara Eric trying to steal Eric 2020’s thunder is akin to Neil Diamond trying to compete against Elvis. Dem late 70’s and early 80’s female rockers were the equivalent of boxing’s 70’s heavyweights. Pat, Joan, Patty Smyth, Stevie Nicks, the Wilson sisters, Chrissie Hynde, Lucious Linda Ronstadt, Debbie Harry, etc. Hasbara Eric was rockin’ out to the Culture Club and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Goodbye To You, FAKE Eric. teehee.

  4. Eric 08:29am, 10/11/2016

    “Hit me with your best shot” is one of my favorite tunes to listen to when I’m getting my butt kicked while being a sub in during one of my weekly S & M sessions.

  5. Eric 07:21am, 10/10/2016

    Funny how I associate certain songs with times in my life and even fighters. Remember back in the day, those up close and personal clips they would show on the boob tube right before the fight. Can still see Pryor training to Herbie Hancock’s, “Rockit” and Saad skipping rope to Herb Alpert’s, “Rise.” Two good instrumentals. Still gotz both 45’s, shows what an old fart that I am. Speaking of underrated, why isn’t Pat Benatar in the Rock & Roll HOF? That HOF is a joke not because of who isn’t in it, but because of who is in it. Her hubby was definitely one of the most underrated guitarist of all-time.

  6. The Thresher 07:06pm, 10/09/2016

    A very accessible and humble guy. I always liked him. Once Holly and I were on a plane and it stopped for a layover in Cincinnatti where a bunch of young Golden Glove fighters got on with their coach. As the coach walked by, I said “What time is it?” Aaron Pryor looked at me, smiled and said “Hawk Time”. I swear there was a tear of appreciation in his eye. I’ll never ever forget that little moment, nor will my wife. It was indelible. It was wondefrul. Goodbye dear man. Goodbye sweet prince. You will be sorely missed for real.

  7. Mr. Trump 06:51pm, 10/09/2016

    I respect Ray Mancini as a person, but face it, he would have gotten creamed worse than Hillary tonight. teehee. That was brutal. MAGA!!

  8. Emilie 05:45pm, 10/09/2016

    OT: Manny Pacquiao Starts his Morning at the UNLV Track.. hen Manny and Bobby wear sunglasses, I can’t tell who is who..

  9. Koolz 04:44pm, 10/09/2016

    I have to watch his fights to honor him.  Dying at 60 is to young.  I know he was battle heart disease.

  10. Cain Bradley 04:13pm, 10/09/2016

    Tommy was a freak, I have a piece where I call him th most underrated all time great. But he would not have stopped Pryor so it is the jab against the aggression. Hearns is favourite but not by much!

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:02pm, 10/09/2016

    Take that back…. not Chavez….Duran or SRL and I agree with Eric about Tommy Hearns in the Pros.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:51pm, 10/09/2016

    If he was on crack cocaine after the first Arguello fight it was amazing that he beat Alexis in the return bout. If he started smoking after the second bout there is no way that he beats Chavez or SRL…no such thing as casual use of that poison. He beats Mancini crack or no crack. May he RIP.

  13. Eric 03:25pm, 10/09/2016

    Both Pryor and Benitez are overshadowed by Duran, Hearns, and Leonard. Shame, because Pryor and Benitez deserve far better. I think Pryor would have done very well against Duran and Leonard, not sure if he could have done as well with the pro version of Tommy Hearns though. Pryor vs Mancini? Sorry but Mancini isn’t even in same league with the Hawk. Pryor would have destroyed Mancini. RIP Mr. Pryor. #MAGA!!

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