Boxing’s Greats of the States | Ohio: Aaron Pryor

By Mike Sloan Jan 10, 2017

Boxers come from every corner of the globe. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring styles prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best boxer of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.

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When you grow up in Cincinnati, you have to be tough. That certainly held true for the late, great Aaron Pryor.

“The Hawk” dominated the super lightweight division for years and waged some of the finest wars the sport has ever seen in the 1980s. Long considered one of the top two or three fighters of all-time at 140 pounds, Pryor captured the WBA championship with a fourth-round knockout of Antonio Cervantes in 1983 and never lost the title in the ring. A massive puncher who could do it all, he defended his crown 11 times and knocked out nine consecutive opponents at one point. Still, Pryor’s crowning achievement can be found in his rivalry with Alexis Arguello: He stopped the Nicaraguan legend twice, first on Nov. 12, 1982 and again on Sept. 9, 1983.

Pryor suffered his only professional defeat in 1987, when he returned from a two-year retirement and lost to Bobby Joe Young. By that time, years of drug and alcohol abuse had taken its toll. Pryor closed out his extraordinary career with three straight victories to finish with a 39-1 (35 KOs) record. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. Pryor died on Oct. 9, 11 days before his 61st birthday.

Honorable Mentions: Ezzard Charles, George Foster, Ray Mancini, Kelly Pavlik, Tim Austin, Jimmy Bivins, James “Buster” Douglas, Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner

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