On November 12, 1982, Pryor defended his title with a 14th-round TKO of Alexis Arguello before a crowd of 23,800 at Miami’s Orange Bowl and a live HBO audience….from which the video seen herewith was recorded some 27 years ago. The fight dubbed The Battle of The Champions by promoter Bob Arum….which was eventually named the Fight of the Decade by The Ring.
Pryor made $1.6 million while Arguello was paid $1.5 million. Arguello….who was a 12-5 favorite while attempting to become the first boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions…..as the end of the fight was controversial…..since Arguello landed a punch in the 13nth round that seemed to stun Pryor…..and despite trailing on two of three scorecards, Arguello had things tilting in his direction….when between the 13th and 14th rounds….and that is when HBO’s microphones caught Pryor’s trainer, Panama Lewis, telling cutman Artie Curley, “Give me the other bottle, the one I mixed.”…..as it has been said by those that saw the fight live that “It seemed to revive Pryor”….who coming out quickly for the 14th round, Pryor landed a barrage of unanswered blows before referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped it…..and that’s when Arguello collapsed to the canvas near the ropes….where he lay for several minutes.
On April 2, 1983, Pryor knocked out former WBC super lightweight champion Sang-Hyun Kim in the third round…..then had a rematch with Arguello at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 9, 1983. Pryor made a career-high $2.25 million and Arguello made $1.75 million.
Panama Lewis had his license revoked after he removed the padding from the gloves of Luis Resto before his fight with Billy Collins Jr. on June 16, 1983. Pryor hired Richie Giachetti to train him, but they had a falling-out. Two weeks before the Arguello rematch, Pryor brought in Emanuel Steward as his trainer.
The rematch was not as competitive as their first one…..as Pryor was badly staggered towards the end of round two by an Arguello uppercut….but he dropped Arguello with a right cross in the 1st round and then again with a left hook in the 4th. Pryor put Arguello down for the count in the 10th round.
After the fight, both Arguello and Pryor announced that they were retiring from boxing.