Monday, October 10, 2016

Aaron Pryor

The former junior welterweight champion of the world passed away yesterday in Cincinnati as Aaron Pryor passed at age 60.

I'm going to be doing a tribute to the "Hawk" tonight on a solo Fight Heads podcast with Ramon Malpica being out on assignment,but I wanted to share some memories of the Hawk here as well.

Aaron Pryor first came to my attention when at 8,I was watching the 1976 Olympic boxing trials and saw him lose a decision to Howard Davis Jr that determined the 135 pound representative for Montreal and wondered how the more aggressive guy didn't get the decision.
That fight was one of the first times that I remember that boxing judging is subjective and not always accurate.
Davis went on and won the gold medal at Montreal with the resulting large pro contract,while Pryor turned pro quietly.

Aaron Pryor was a guy that might have been best at lightweight,but with his style and punching power no one would even consider defending a title against him,so he took the first title shot offered to him-the hall of famer and perennially underrated Antonio "Kid Palembe" Cervantes.
Cervantes fell in four and Pryor was a world champion,soon to cement himself as the most exciting fighter in the game.

Aaron Pryor was such an exciting fighter,but that's because he combined two styles and blended them into his own.
Many pressure fighters throw a lot of punches because they lack one punch power and have to win with accumulated punches to win decisions.
Power hitting fighters tend to be a little more sparing with their punches thrown and don't throw as many,
Aaron Pryor threw an unreal amount of punches and then threw them with knockout power.
Pryor swarmed his opponents from the opening bell and threw punches from unusual angles that were far from what would be taught as technically sound.
This often saw him off balance and would sometimes cost Pryor early flash knockdowns in bouts,which contributed to the unpredictable nature of Pryor fights.

Most remember Aaron Pryor for the great Alexis Arguello fights,but I remember him more for the fights that he just missed out on-Sugar Ray Leonard (bout was reportedly signed,but Leonard suffered a detached retina),Roberto Duran (managerial issues) and Saoul Mamby (title unification signed and the promotion went under), his intimidating straight arm directly at his opponent before fights and the constant shouts of his entourage of "What time is it? HAWK TIME"..

Aaron Pryor ranked very high on my list of favorite fighters and his drug issues (along with eye issues of his own) cost him much of his prime.
Bad luck in and out of the ring combined with bad choices outside of the ring cost us so many great fights,but I'd still rank Pryor as maybe my top junior welterweight ever and that's not too shabby.

I hope you'll join me tonight on Fight Heads for more on Aaron Pryor,but until then enjoy my favorite Pryor title defense against the talented DuJuan Johnson of the Kronk gym.This defense was held in Cleveland...

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