International Boxing Hall of Fame

Aaron Pryor

"The Hawk"


Great Reading

KO'd By His Demons [Sports Illustrated, Sept. 9, 1985]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Aaron Pryor
Real name Aaron Pryor
Nickname(s) Hawk
Rated at Light Welterweight
Height 5 ft 6.50 in (1.69 m)
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Birth date October 20, 1955 (1955-10-20) (age 52)
Birth place Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 40
Wins 39
Wins by KO 35
Losses 1
Draws 0
No contests 0

Aaron Pryor (born October 20, 1955) is a former boxer from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the former world Junior Welterweight champion.

Amateur career

Pryor, nicknamed The Hawk, had a record of 204 wins and 16 losses as an amateur. He won a silver medal at the 1975 Pan American Games, and participated in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal as an alternate. In 1972 he was the National AAU Champion at 132 lb, having outpointed Robert Newton of Boston. He beat future great Thomas Hearns in the finals of the 1976 National Golden Gloves.

Professional career

Pryor turned professional on November 11, 1976, with a win over Larry Smith. In 1977, Pryor fought eight fights, winning all but two by knockout. The only two fighters who heard the final bell versus Pryor that year were Johnny Summerhayes and Jose Resto. After the fight with Summerhayes, Pryor won 26 fights in a row by knockout, in one of the longest knockout streaks in the history of boxing.

In 1978, Pryor won five fights, and in 1979 he won six. However, during 1979, Pryor experienced a rise in competition level, and in his last fight that year, he was pitted for the first time ever against a former or future world champion, when he faced former Junior Welterweight champion of the world Alfonso Fraser, Peppermint, of Panama, who lasted five rounds with The Hawk. After that fight, Pryor entered the WBA rankings.

He only kept on going up in the rankings for the first part of 1980. He beat Julio Valdez, Leonidas Asprilla and Carl Crowley before a world title bout was set up by the WBA, versus two time world champion Antonio Cervantes of Colombia at Cincinnati. Pryor was dropped in round one, but he rose and knocked out Cervantes in round four in front of a national television audience, becoming a world champion. He finished the year knocking out Gaetan Hart to retain his title.

1981 brought Pryor up to the ring against Lennox Blackmore and Dujuan Johnson. Pryor beat Blackmore in two rounds, but had to work more against Johnson, once again visiting the floor in round one before winning by knockout in six.

In 1982 he defeated fringe contender Miguel Montilla by a knockout in 12 to begin the year, then put his title on the line versus Akio Kameda. Once again, Pryor went to the floor in round one but got up to knock the Japanese challenger out in round six.

[edit] Bouts with Arguello

In what promoter Bob Arum nicknamed The Battle of The Champions, Pryor defeated Alexis Arguello by a technical knockout in 14 in front of an HBO audience. The fight was named Fight Of The Year and later the Fight Of The Decade by Ring Magazine.

The fight sparked controversy however, because Pryor's trainer, Panama Lewis, introduced a second water bottle which he described as "the bottle I mixed" after round 13, leading to speculation that the bottle was tainted. The Florida State Boxing Commission failed to administer a post-fight urine test, adding to speculation that the bottle contained an unsanctioned substance. Pryor and Agruello met after the fight and Arguello asked Pryor if there was a substance in the bottle. Pryor told Arguello there wasn't anything in the bottle that gave him an advantage. Alexis Arguello vs. Aaron Pryor (1st meeting)[legendary nights hbo - Boxrec Boxing Encyclopaedia]</ref> [1]

In 1983, after defending his crown against former WBC world champion Sang Hyun Kim (KO 3), Pryor defended against Arguello again, this time winning by a knockout in 10 rounds.


1st Retirement

After the fight, both Pryor and Arguello announced their retirement, with Pryor leaving the WBA crown vacant.

Pryor took back his decision of retiring soon after, however, and the IBF immediately recognized him as their world champion. 1984 proved to be a frustrating year for Pryor. His proposed fight with world Lightweight champion Ray Mancini fell through when Mancini lost his title against Livingstone Bramble, and Pryor was able to defend his IBF world title only once, against Nick Furlano, who became the first guy in 27 fights to last the distance with Pryor, losing to Pryor on points in 15 rounds in Canada.

In 1985, Pryor would only fight once, retaining his title versus future world champion Gary Hinton in 15 rounds, again by points.


2nd Retirement

After the win over Hinton, Pryor retired and began to have drug problems. [2] He ran into trouble with the police a few times and stories of alleged abuse against members of his family made the headlines.


In 1987 he made a short comeback, suffering his lone loss by a knockout in seven to Bobby Joe Young, a fringe contender of the era.

In 1988 and 1989, he attempted another comeback, winning three fights, all by knockout, against lower opposition.

Final Retirement

In 1990 it was discovered that Pryor had been fighting with eye problems, and he was never allowed to box again. After Pryor's retirement the loyal fans of boxing have continued to suggest that Pryor used steriods in his two fights with Arguello, but Pryor has never admitted to taking any steriods.

In 1996, Pryor was elected to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

He retired with 39 wins, 1 loss and 35 wins by knockout.


Pryor lives in his hometown of Cincinnati with his wife, Frankie Pryor, and their four children � Aaron, Jr., Antwan, Stephan, and Elizabeth. Pryor is an ordained deacon at New Friendship Baptist Church and travels the world making personal appearances and spreading his anti-drug message. In the 1990s, Pryor opened a gym in his hometown where he helps children learn boxing and stay off the streets. He remains active in the sport of boxing training both professional and Golden Gloves amateur boxers. The Pryor boxing legacy continues today with Aaron, Jr. and Stephan following in their dad�s footsteps.

Recent Activities

Aaron Pryor has been used as a motivational speaker for the 2006 New York Jets. Coach Eric Mangini is a huge Aaron Pryor fan and has used Aaron Pryor's attitude and career as a source of motivation for his team. Aaron filmed a short clip saying it was "New York Jets time."

After 25 years, boxer admits to tampering

Preceded by
Antonio Cervantes
WBA Light Welterweight Champion
2 Aug 1980�1983
Succeeded by
Johnny Bumphus
Preceded by
Inaugural champion
IBF Light Welterweight Champion
Succeeded by
Gary Hinton