October 10, 2016

HAWK ON THE WING:

Boxing great Aaron Pryor, who battled Arguello, dies at 60 (TIM DAHLBERG, AP)

"He was very unorthodox and could throw punches from all kinds of angles with great hand speed," said former Associated Press boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. "He was a great fighter, it's too bad he didn't have more fights."

Pryor's widow, Frankie Pryor, said her husband -- who would later speak out about the evils of drugs -- also had a side most fans didn't know about.

"Aaron was known around the world as 'The Hawk' and delighted millions of fans with his aggressive and crowd-pleasing boxing style," she said in a statement announcing his death. "But to our family he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend."

Pryor was unbeaten in 31 fights when he and Arguello met in a 140-pound title clash in the Orange Bowl in Miami on Nov. 12, 1982. Arguello was a classic boxer-puncher considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters, but Pryor would not back off as the two men traded punches for the better part of 14 rounds.

Pryor finally wore Arguello down, stopping him in the 14th round with a flurry of punches. Ring Magazine later picked the bout as the Fight of the Decade.

"It was one of the best fights I've ever seen," Schuyler said. "I'd put it in the top five."

Pryor's win was marred, though, by questions about a bottle wrapped in black tape that his corner man raised to his lips on several occasions between rounds in the fight. Many in boxing thought it contained stimulants, but the corner man, Artie Curley, said it was peppermint schnapps.

Pryor would beat Arguello again the next September in Las Vegas, this time stopping him in the 10th round of their scheduled 15-round bout. Arguello went down in the round from a series of punches and declined to get back up.

"Arguello was a great fighter but he couldn't handle Pryor," Schuyler said. "He could have gotten up, but what was the point?"

The second Arguello fight was the pinnacle of Pryor's career. He became a heavy cocaine user, and fought only six more times in the next seven years, finishing his career with a record of 39-1 with 35 knockouts.

Posted by at October 10, 2016 8:13 AM

  

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