Tag Archives: Pryor

Alexis “The Thin Man” Arguello: A Class Act in and Out of the Ring


By: Ken Hissner

This writer once had the privilege of meeting the great 3-time world champion Alexis “The Thin Man” Arguello, of Managua, Nicaragua, in Atlantic City, NJ, as he was preparing to fight Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in 1981. He fought in Atlantic City four times during his career.

This writer had a picture taken with Arguello along with Bethlehem, PA, lightweight Bobby Johnson and his trainer Ernie Butler. Butler was also the trainer of Larry “Easton Assassin” Holmes prior to Don King getting involved. I was given a signed picture by Arguello. He mentioned during the week of the Mancini fight how he sat alone with a military field jacket on in a chair with his leg’s straight out. All of a sudden here comes Mancini busting through a double door with his entourage!

Mancini prior to the fight talked about how Arguello was one of his boxing idols and he did make a good account of himself. He was only behind 127-122, 127-125 and 125-123 going into the fourteenth round of the scheduled fifteen round bout in October of 1981.

Agruello won the WBC World Lightweight title in his previous fight defeating Scotland’s southpaw Jim Watt, then 38-7, over fifteen rounds at the Empire Pool, in Wembley, London, UK, in June of 1981. Watt would retire from boxing after this defeat.

It was his fifth title defense for Watt. In his two previous two fights in 1980 he defeated 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist and Val Barker winner (most outstanding boxer) Howard Davis, Jr. 13-0, over fifteen rounds in June. He defeated Sean “Bubble Gum Kid” O’Grady, then 73-1, in November by TKO 12 due to an ugly gash requiring 11 stitches. Both fights were in Glasgow, Scotland.

Arguello after winning his first three fights turning professional at the age of sixteen in Managua, Nicaragua, lost back to back bouts in 1969. He was stopped in four rounds by Omar Amaya making his debut and who never fought again. The following month the next loss was to Oscar “Alacran” Espinosa, 0-1, who Arguello had defeated in his second fight. Both fights were split decisions. Espinosa didn’t fight again for five years. It makes one wonder that both Nicaraguan boxers never fought again and the other not for five years about the punishment they may have taken from Arguello.

In Arguello’s next fight five months later he traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, for the only fight outside of Nicaragua in his first thirty-four fights. That would have been in Panama when he fought for the WBA World Featherweight title losing to champion Panama’s Ernesto Marcel, 39-4-2, by decision over fifteen rounds. Would you believe Marcel retired from boxing after that fight?

Arguello would go onto win his next sixteen fights, thirteen by stoppage after suffering the back to back losses. He would lose for a third time due to an injured hand and a cut to Jorge Reyes, 7-6, of Mexico in the sixth round of a scheduled ten rounds. Reyes never returned to Nicaragua and would go onto lose six of his next seven bouts before retiring. His losses were to opponents with a combined record of 158-36-11. His win was over a 9-9-1 boxer.

Arguello would earn the world title fight with Marcel by defeating such boxers as Kid Pascualito, 81-25-19, of Paraguay and Cuban Jose “Pocket Cassius Clay” Legra, 129-10-4, living in Spain. Both by stoppages. Five months after Marcel’s retirement fighting for the vacant title would be Ruben “El Puas” Olivares, 75-4-1, of Mexico and Zensuke Utagawa, 25-4-2, of Japan, with Olivares scoring a seventh round knockout.

Four months after winning the WBA World Featherweight title Olivares would make his first defense against Arguello at the Inglewood Forum in California losing his title by thirteenth round knockout. He would go onto defend his title four times with over ten non-title wins.

Next up for Arguello would be the WBC World Super Featherweight title in champion Alfredo Escalera’s home town. He was one of the dirtiest fighters in boxing. Arguello had him down in the second round and all cut up so that by the thirteenth round Arguello would be crowned the “new champion!”

After one non-title fight and two defenses Arguello would lose in a non-title fight to Vilomar Fernandez, 22-6-2, in ten rounds. He would be victorious in four non-title fights and five title defenses before moving up to lightweight for his third division world title. In those five defenses he defeated Bobby “School Boy” Chacon, 42-4-1, and Ruben Castillo, 46-0, by stoppage.

In order to win that WBC lightweight title he would travel to Wembley, UK, and defeat southpaw Jim Watt, 38-7, of Scotland, who retired from boxing after that defeat. He would go onto score five straight knockouts with the last one being the only non-title bout over Kevin Rooney, 19-1. The title defenses were over Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, 20-0, Roberto Elizondo, 23-1, James Busceme, 27-3, and Andy Ganigan 34-3.

In moving up to fight for the WBA World Super Lightweight title he had to take on the undefeated and dangerous Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, 31-0. He was behind on two of the scorecards and stopped in the fourteenth round. Pryor’s trainer Panama Lewis asked for the “black bottle” which Don Elbaum mixed for them. It contained something to give Pryor super power.

In between rematches Arguello avenged his loss to Vilomar Fernandez. Then came the second fight with Pryor who was just too big for Arguello who was knocked out in the tenth round. Arguello then took a year off before returning to the ring in of all places Alaska where he stopped Pat Jefferson, 24-5, in five rounds. Then moved up to welterweight stopping former super lightweight champion Billy Costello, 31-1, in four rounds.

Arguello attempted to come back after six and a half years winning a majority decision over Jorge Polomares, 8-12-1. He should have realized he no long was the fighter he once was. In his next and final fight he lost by decision to Scott “The Pink Panther” Walker, 17-3-1, cousin to 1976 Olympian Chuck “White Chocolate” Walker.

Arguello ended up 77-8 with 62 knockouts, in January of 1985. In 1992 he was inducted into the IBHOF. He was also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Lupe Sanchez and the legendary Eddie Futch were his trainers.

In 1994 Ring Magazine named Arguello “The Greatest Junior Lightweight of all-time”. In 2002 they named him the “Eighth Greatest Featherweight of all-time”. In July of 2009 it was reported he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. From 1998 to 2001 he would serve as a boxing judge traveling to five different countries. On a trip to a boxing event in New York after this I would end up sitting next to his son.

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Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?


Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?
By: Ken Hissner

This writer has met “Sugar” Ray Leonard several times, Aaron “The Hawk” once and Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker once. I never met Floyd “Money” Mayweather. All are IBHOF inductees except Mayweather who has to wait five years after retiring before induction. He hasn’t fought since 2015.

Mayweather media day

As far as an amateur Leonard would be in a class of his own compared to the other three though Whitaker also won an Olympic Gold Medal but against lesser opposition.Leonard was from Palmer Park, MD.

Let’s take a look at Leonard first with an amateur record of 145-5 (75) winning the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal before turning professional on possibly the greatest Olympic team in the history of the Games. He won the 1975 Pan American Games the previous year defeating Cubans for both Gold Medals. He was inducted into the Olympic HOF in 1985 and the IBHOF in 1997 fighting from 1977 thru 1997 with a 36-3-1 (25) record.

In talking with Manny Steward who helped this writer judge 1976 vs 1984 Olympic teams we both agreed Leonard was a better amateur than a professional. Steward told me due to hand injuries as a professional. His manager was Mike Trainer and his trainers were Dave Jacobs, Janks Morton, Adrian Davis, Angelo Dundee and Pepe Correa.

Leonard won the WBC & WBA welterweight titles, WBA Junior middleweight, WBC’s middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles. Highlights winning world titles by stopping Wildfredo Benitez, winning two of three from Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, stopping and drawing with Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns, stopping AyubKalule, defeating “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and stopping Donny Lalondetwice.
Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, 39-1 (36), was from Cincinnati, OH. He was 204-16 in the amateurs winning AAU and Golden Gloves titles while being a Silver Medalist in the 1975 Pan Am Games and a 1976 Olympic alternate losing to future Gold Medalist and Van Barker winner Howard Davis. In talking to Davis over the phone I told him I thought he lost against Pryor in the Olympic Trials. He didn’t agree. Pryor won the 1976 Golden Gloves defeating Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns.

At the Pan Am Games in 1975 Olympic members Chuck “White Chocolate” Walker and Davey Armstrong agreed Leonard just got the best of Pryor in sparring in unforgettable performances by both.

Pryor was the IBF and WBA light welterweight champion. He was 35-0 and was inactive for 2½ years coming back and tasting his only career defeat to Bobby Joe Young then winning his last three fights. He fought from 1976 thru 1990. His most notable wins were over Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes, Dujuan Johnson and over Alexis Arguello twice.His manager was Buddy LaRosa and trained by Panama Lewis.

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker as a professional was 40-4-1 (17), and as anamateur 201-14.In 1982 he was the Silver Medalist in the World Amateur championships reversing the loss by defeating the same Cuban for the Pan Am Games 1983 Gold Medal. The Russians and Cubans didn’t compete in the 1984 Olympics where Whitaker won the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal in the lightweight division.

Whitaker held the WBA, WBC and IBF titles as a lightweight and a light welterweight. His first attempt for the WBC lightweight title was his first career loss to Jose Luis Ramirez but defeated Ramirez the following year for his first world title. He defeated Azuma Nelson, Jorge Paez, BuddyMcGirt twice and drew with Julio Cesar Chavez. He lost to Oscar “Golden Boy” De la Hoya and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. He fought from 1984 thru 2001.

Whitaker was managed by Shelly Finkel while trained by George Benton and Lou Duva as a professional. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2007. He would become a trainer after retiring.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.,was 49-0 (26), as a professional winning the WBC super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight titles. He won the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO titles as a welterweight and the WBA & WBC light middleweight titles.

He was managed by Floyd Mayweather, Sr., James Prince and Al Haymon. He was trained by Roger Mayweather, and Mayweather, Sr. He was promoted by Top Rank, Goossen Tutor Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions.

Mayweather was 84-8 as an amateur winning the 1996 Golden Gloves and the Bronze Medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. As a professional he fought from 1996 thru 2015.

In this writers opinion “Sugar” Ray Leonard was the better P4P boxer than the other three. What do you think?

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Aaron Pryor: 1955-2016


Aaron Pryor: 1955-2016
By: Sean Crose

Word has come through various media outlets that Aaron Pryor, the junior welterweight legend, has died. This is a big loss for fight fans, as Pyror was truly an all-time great. Known primarily for defeating Alexis Arguello in two epic wars back in the early 80s, the man also bested the iconic Tommy Hearns in the armatures and was often named as a possible opponent for the likes of Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. The fact that such high end (and high profile) professional matches never came to be is a loss for the sport of boxing, but Pryor was able to hone his own legacy, regardless, with a fearless, freewheeling aggressive ring style and a take no prisoners attitude.

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He also proved a warrior outside of the ring. After being wild and temperamental in his youth, the man had the strength to kick a serious drug habit in 1993 on his way to becoming a respected former great. Indeed, the guy’s heartfelt sorrow on the passing of his former foe, Arguello, after the Nicaraguan’s untimely passing in 2009 showed just how far Pryor had gone in the right direction since his Augustinian youth. To be sure, he even went on to act as a motivational speaker for such groups as the New York Jets. Still, the Cincinnati native will be primarily remembered for being “The Hawk,” a thoroughly overwhelming and intimidating ring presence.

Watching Pryor’s fights today is a true pleasure. For here was a fighter who was pure action. And heart. He took hell from Arguello, but managed to defeat the hard hitting thin man in the fourteenth round. That victory came with controversy, as there was a widespread belief that Pryor had ingested substance in between rounds that kicked in and helped his performance. Pryor proved just as good in his rematch against Arguello the following year, however, stopping his man in the 10th. To be sure, Pryor had just one loss on his record, which was the result of a comeback fight against Bobby Joe Young in 1987.

The actions of Pryor of that night, however, were nothing short of bizarre, for he engaged in behavior that appeared to be either compulsive (repeatedly crossing himself) or completely senseless (some thought he helped Young up after knocking him down). Either way, the loss proved to be a blip on an otherwise extremely successful career. Just how good was Pryor? Suffice to say he’d be avoided today by so many name opponents, one would think the man’s nickname was GGG.

In the end, perhaps the greatest junior welterweight in history succumbed to heart disease. No doubt he went out fighting.

RIP.

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