Bobby Joe Young: The Man Who Took Away Aaron Pryor’s ‘0’


Bobby Joe Young is not best known for wearing the lable “Welterweight of the Future” (with Marlon Starling, Milton McCrory and Donald Curry), or losing a world title shot to Simon Brown, or his 31-7 record with 23 KO’s.

Bobby Joe Young is best known for being the only man to defeat the legendary Aaron Pryor. Young, 28 at the time, not only beat the then 36-0 Pryor, he stopped him at the Sunrise Musical Theatre in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 1987.

Bobby Joe Young recently discussed the details of his historic win over the Hall of Famer.

BoxingInsider: Bobby Joe Young, the only man to beat Aaron Pryor.

Bobby Joe Young: “Yes. It was a great fight and a great time in my life. He caught me when I was just ready to make a move like that. To get back in the picture. My quest to fight for and win a world title. Even though I never won a world title. I still ended up getting something better – getting inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.”

BoxingInsider: What do you remember about that fight? Why were you able to beat Aaron Pryor? He was a great fighter.

Bobby Joe Young: “Well, Aaron and I – when I turned pro – I can remember a couple years later, when I signed a contract with NBC and we were all at a big luncheon together. And me and Aaron was there. And something back then, 1982, I said to my heart, One day me and this guy is gonna fight. I felt a strong feeling. And it finally came to pass. I was confident, I knew I was gonna beat him. He’s good. But he’s a good little man. A good little man will never beat a good big man.”

BoxingInsider: What do you remember about finishing the fight?

Bobby Joe Young: “Well, basically, he hit me a couple of times. His best punches – I could feel them but they were nothing to put me in no type of trouble. It was just a matter of me catching him with a couple more good punches and it’s gonna be over. I knew I had it in me to knock him out.”

BoxingInsider: What were his best punches?

Bobby Joe Young: “Well he was quick and had a good sneaky right hand he got me with a few times. And the sneaky right hand, I felt it. But it was nothing that could put me in trouble.”

BoxingInsider: Do you remember how you set up the winning KO punch?

Bobby Joe Young: “Actually, I came out, seventh round, the right hand that I hit him with – it surprised me because it wasn’t like I got a lot on it to throw it with everything on it. I just threw it. And sometimes the punches that you throw – when you don’t realize you’re punching hard – those punches land the hardest because you’re so relaxed throwing the punch. And that’s what happened, he got caught with a relaxed right hand.”

BoxingInsider: He went down for the ten count, correct?

Bobby Joe Young: “I’m glad they stopped it. Even though he got up, he went down, took a knee. But he didn’t know where he was. And it’s like this: Hey, I have a lot of respect and love for Aaron Pryor. I didn’t want to be the one that killed that man. I’m glad that didn’t happen. And I would never want that to happen in a fight with me.”

Two years after defeating Aaron Pryor, Bobby Joe Young received an IBF Welterweight title shot in Rochester, NY in 1989 but was defeated on a second-round KO by champion Simon Brown. Young retired after the loss with a ring record of 31-7 (23 KO’s). Presently, the Steubenville, Ohio native resides in Bayonne, New Jersey.

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