Aaron Pryor is a former boxer from Cincinnati, Ohio….who was World Junior Welterweight Champion from 1980 to 1985….and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. Pryor was voted by the Associated Press as the #1 junior welterweight of the 20th century in 1999.
On November 12, 1982, Pryor defended his title with a fourteenth-round TKO of Alexis Arguello before a crowd of 23,800 at Miami’s Orange Bowl and a live HBO audience. The fight, dubbed The Battle of The Champions by promoter Bob Arum….was eventually named the Fight of the Decade by The Ring. Pryor made $1.6 million while Arguello was paid $1.5 million….as Arguello was a 12-5 favorite while attempting to become the first boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions.
The end of the fight was controversial. Arguello landed a punch in the thirteenth round that seemed to stun Pryor….and despite trailing on two of three scorecards….Arguello had things tilting in his direction. Between the thirteenth and fourteenth rounds….HBO’s microphones caught Pryor’s trainer, Panama Lewis, telling cut-man Artie Curley, “Give me the other bottle, the one I mixed.” It seemed to revive Pryor….who came out quickly for the fourteenth round, Pryor landed a barrage of unanswered blows before referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped it….as 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….the The Hawk had a rematch with Arguello at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 9, 1983….where Pryor made a career high $2.25 million and Arguello made $1.75 million. Pryor’s trainer 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….so, 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. Pryor dropped Arguello with a right cross in the first round and again with a left hook in the fourth. Pryor put Arguello down for the count in the tenth round. After the fight, both Arguello and Pryor announced that they were retiring from boxing….but Pryor’s retirement didn’t last very long….for In March 1984….he announced that he was going to fight again. “I never really retired. I just rested,” Pryor said. “I vacated the title because the WBA insisted I defend it every six months.” The newly formed IBF immediately recognized him as their world champion.
Shortly before Pryor made his comeback, his proposed multi-million dollar fight with WBA lightweight champion Ray Mancini fell through when Mancini was knocked out by Livingstone Bramble on June 1, 1984. “Aaron Pryor actually cried,” Said Bob Arum. “I saw the tears.” On June 22, 1984, Pryor defended his IBF title against Nick Furlano in Toronto, Ontario, Canada…..where he dropped Furlano twice in the first round but was unable to finish him. Pryor won by a lopsided fifteen-round unanimous decision. Furlano became the first boxer in 27 fights to last the distance with Pryor.
Pryor defended his title against future IBF junior welterweight champion Gary Hinton on March 2, 1985….as seen in the video herewith….which Pryor won by a fifteen-round split decision. He got off to a sluggish start but came on strong in the second half….winning five of the last seven rounds on the cards of judges Frank Cairo (who voted for Hinton) and Phil Newman and all seven on the card of judge Lawrence Wallace. Pryor dropped Hinton early in the 14th round with a right to the chin.
Gary Hinton was an American boxer at junior welterweight and welterweight divisions…..who turned pro in 1978….eventually winning the vacant IBF light welterweight title with a decision win over Reyes Antonio Cruz in 1986. He lost the title in his first defense to Joe Manley by KO later that year.