Powered by:
as known from New York Timesas known from USA Todayas known from yahoo!
VA
Contains commercial content
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Remembering Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor One Year after his Death

Remembering Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor One Year after his Death

What time is it? Hawk time!
Publish Date: 10/10/2017
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Pryor lands a left on Arguello

The timing was perfect.

My wife and I were in Las Vegas on vacation. She liked to gamble. I could take it or leave it. Mostly leave it.

There were two fighters training in Sin City that weekend. I liked one quite a bit. The other, in my opinion, was a showoff.

We did the “tourist” thing for a day and returned to our room at the Flamingo Hotel.

The Flamingo was fun. It was old and gaudy and loaded with reminders of its notorious history. Old-time gangster Ben “Don’t Call Me, Bugsy” Siegel, had opened the place the day after Christmas in 1946.

The Flamingo was just a stone’s throw away from Caesars Palace.

Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello were training there for a rematch.

Their first fight on November 12, 1982 had been like watching them ride a pugilistic rollercoaster.

The heavily favored (12-5) Arguello had pockets of success in the early rounds. He used his jab—and was able to clobber Pryor with his deadly right on a number of occasions. Pryor was rocked, but always came back with missiles of his own.

I watched the fight with my Dad. We were both pulling for Arguello. Pryor’s act had grown tired, at least to me. Arguello would show him who the better fighter was.

Nope.

Arguello landed his money punch in the 13th round. The blow snapped Pryor’s head like a tree branch. I expected him to fall.

He did not.

My Dad said, “That’s it. Arguello is done. He hit Pryor with his best punch and nothing happened.”

Dad was right. A few minutes later Pryor hurt Arguello with a vicious combination. Staggering to the ropes,

Arguello waited for Pryor to commence with the coup de gras.

Multiple combinations—punctuated by three violent lead rights had Arguello twisting in the wind. He finally collapsed to the canvas as Pryor rejoiced in the opposite corner.

Controversy raged after the bout as questions were raised about where Pryor’s energy had come from after taking so much punishment. Before the fourteenth round, Pryor’s trainer, Panama Lewis, ordered his assistant to hand him a black bottle.

“The one I mixed,” he said.

A rematch was ordered. Arguello remarked that Pryor had won the first fight, “fair and square.”

Pryor was hurt by the criticism that followed. He’d prove in the rematch who the better man was.

And so there I was, at Caesars Place a week before the sequel, excited to watch them train. My wife headed for the casino. I went in search of some sort of training facility in the hotel. It wasn’t hard to find.

A ballroom had been converted into a makeshift boxing arena. I joined roughly 25 other boxing fans waiting for the fighters to appear.

The crowd had swelled to about 50 by the time Arguello, the former great champion from Nicaragua, went through his paces. I was a few feet away from him. He looked grim, like a man counting down to the days to his execution. His workout lacked fire. He was, in other words, going through the motions. I groaned inwardly.

No way he beats Pryor.

Arguello worked out for an hour. He left as quietly as he entered. The ballroom was now loaded to the rafters. We were all waiting for “The Hawk” to show.

As the noise grew for Pryor’s arrival, Donna Summer’s beat-driven “She Works Hard for the Money” started blasting from the room’s speakers, with Aaron Pryor and his entourage headed for the ring. Pryor danced into the ring and lead the crowd in a chorus. He was smiling and pointing.

It felt more like a revival than a training session.

The contract with Arguello was appalling. Pryor was the man who had sent 24 opponents to sleep, and everyone, including Arguello knew it. A week later he again defeated Arguello, this time by a stoppage in Round eight.

Pryor had captured the super lightweight title three years before by knocking out Antonio Cervantes. His reign had been explosive and controversial. But the guy could fight. Over the course of that year, I had grown to appreciate the talent, energy and grit that he brought into a boxing ring.

He was, in other words, a tremendous fighter, in a time when a number of great fighters existed. He defeated Tommy Hearns in the amateurs and almost fought Sugar Ray Leonard a few years later. A fight against Leonard, or Roberto Duran, would have been a donnybrook.

Pryor never took a backwards step.

He was awkward and hit fighters with punches they never saw coming. He could box when he needed to.

Pryor seemed to lose interest in boxing after the Arguello rematch. He briefly retired. When he came back, some of his fire was gone. Unknown to most fans was that Pryor was battling a drug problem.

How he had managed fight so well despite his dependency is amazing.

His final record shows 39 victories in 40 matches, with 35 big knockouts. Pryor was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

By that time, he had knocked out his most difficult opponent, drugs, and was helping others with similar problems. Pryor’s childhood had been a difficult one, but he had fought his way out of poverty and become a world champion.

Everyone who met him replied at what a kind, modest and considerate man he was.

“I have great love, respect and admiration for my long-time friend,” Sugar Ray Leonard said. “He will be greatly missed by so many.”

I can still see him serenading the crowd at Caesars.

It was amazing, as was his boxing career.

Rest in peace, Champ.

Read Also
Mythical Matchup: Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Aaron Pryor
Our next mythical matchup is one of the great “what ifs” of ...
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
BetMGM Promo
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
Top 100 remaining 2021 NFL free agents after Day 1
This is the most up-to-date list of available NFL free agents following ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Belinda Laracuente, The Puerto Rican Road Warrior Who Dished Out Brown Sugar By the Fistful
Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere. Belinda Laracuente was a boxer who not only embraced ...
Top 100 NFL free agents entering the 2021 offseason
Below is a list of the top 100 free agents available this ...
Lady Tyger’s Tale: How Marian Trimiar Mauled the Boxing Establishment of the 1970s and 80s
To Feed the Ambition in Your Heart is Like Carrying a Tiger ...
The Forgotten Canadian Champion (And Maybe It’s Deserved): Billy Hawkins
As Mike Goodpaster and I prepare our popular Old-Time Boxing Show podcast, ...
Sportsbook of the month
PointsBet - Get your Bonus Bet now!
-
Top Brands
Top Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
4.6/5
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic Review
4.5/5
High5Casino
High5Casino
High5Casino Review
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
4.5/5
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
$25 No Deposit + 250,000 Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic Bonus
25 SCs extra free on first purchases + 2 SCs FREE to claim
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
High5Casino
High5Casino Bonus
$5 No Deposit + 250 GameCoins + 600 Diamonds
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
1,000 ($10) No Deposit Free Coins + 360,000 Gold Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Latest News
Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings (12/05/23)
Penn State suffered another crushing defeat this week, ...
The Truth About Rocky Marciano
A lot has been said on social media ...
Betting Tips
12/04/2023 - 8:15 pm
EverBank Stadium
Tip:
Jacksonville to Cover
-9.50
FanDuel
12/02/2023 - 8:00 pm
Bank of America Stadium
Tip:
Louisville to Cover
2.50
FanDuel
12/02/2023 - 4:00 pm
Mercedes Benz Stadium
Tip:
Georgia to Cover
-5.50
FanDuel
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: Indiana Basketball weekly W/Steve Risley: IU/Harvard Preview and UCONN and Louisville Recaps!
Indiana Basketball weekly W/Steve Risley: IU/Harvard Preview and UCONN and Louisville Recaps!
Video: Indiana Basketball Weekly W/Steve Risley: IU vs Michigan Preview and IU/Maryland Recap
Indiana Basketball Weekly W/Steve Risley: IU vs Michigan Preview and IU/Maryland Recap
Video: Pala Online Casino Review 🎰 The Best Casino In New Jersey?👀
Pala Online Casino Review The Best Casino In New Jersey?
Sportsbook of the month
PointsBet - Get your Bonus Bet now!
-
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
4.6/5
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic Review
4.5/5
High5Casino
High5Casino
High5Casino Review
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
4.5/5
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
$25 No Deposit + 250,000 Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Sweeptastic
Sweeptastic Bonus
25 SCs extra free on first purchases + 2 SCs FREE to claim
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
High5Casino
High5Casino Bonus
$5 No Deposit + 250 GameCoins + 600 Diamonds
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
1,000 ($10) No Deposit Free Coins + 360,000 Gold Coins
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
4.6/5
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
4.6/5
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
4.5/5
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
4.5/5
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
4.5/5
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
Bet $5 Get $150 Instantly
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
up to $1,500 back in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
$1000 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Place your first cash bet up to $1,000, and if the bet loses, you will have your wager refunded in Bonus Bets. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
Caesars
Caesars Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsSimon Briffa
+10
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
aukje
aukje
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
berina
berina
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

21+NCPG
Move to Top
Close
Players accepted in the US US Flag
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
$25 No Deposit + 250,000 Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Exclusive promo code: TGTSOCIAL
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site