Hall of Fame Friday: Aaron Pryor
THE RING magazine features a thumbnail biography of a ring great who has received the ultimate honor: induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.
Birthdate: Oct. 20, 1955
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
Nickname: The Hawk
Weight Class: Junior welterweight
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches
Professional record: 39-1, (35 knockouts)
Professional titles: WBA junior welterweight (Aug. 2, 1980-84); IBF junior welterweight (June 22, 1984-85)
Best performances: Antonio Cervantes (KO 4), Dujuan Johnson (KO 7), Lennox Blackmore (KO 2), Miguel Montilla (KO 12), Akio Kameda (KO 6), Alexis Arguello (KO 14, KO 10), Sang Hyun Kim (KO 3).
Year of IBHOF induction: 1996
Background A relentless dynamo who blended a high degree of skill, laser-like speed, reckless courage and blazing combination punching into a virtually unbeatable package ÔÇª Won silver medal at 1975 Pan American Games and topped a remarkable 204-16 amateur career by beating Thomas Hearns to capture the 1976 National Golden Gloves ÔÇª Turned pro in November ’76 with a second-round KO of Larry Smith ÔÇª Won the WBA 140-pound title on Aug. 2, 1980, knocking out future Hall of Famer Antonio Cervantes in the fourth round ÔÇª Tallied five successful defenses (all via KO) prior to his famous first fight with Alexis Arguello on Nov. 12, 1982 at Miami’s Orange Bowl. It was a tremendous give-and-take battle but Arguello was finally overwhelmed and knocked out in the 14th round ÔÇª A third-round TKO of Sang Hyun Kim in defense of the WBA belt in April 1983 preceded the much-anticipated rematch with Arguello that September, in which the Nicaraguan was KO’d in the 10th round ÔÇª Retired after a close 15-round decision over Gary Hinton on March 3, 1985, his only defense of the IBF title ÔÇª Returned to action in August ’87, losing for the first and only time as pro when Bobby Joe Young stopped him in seven rounds ÔÇª Three more minor bouts followed, but cocaine addiction and eye injuries had badly depleted him. Permanent retirement followed a December 1990 KO of Roger Choate in Norman, Okla. ÔÇª Kicked his cocaine habit, became an ordained deacon of the New Faith Baptist Church, and currently spends his time training boxers and lecturing kids on the evils of drug abuse. His son, Aaron Pryor Jr., also is a professional fighter.