Throwback Series: Aaron Pryor

By J. Faunce


Throwback Series: Aaron Pryor

Boxingtalk's J. Faunce recently caught up with former junior welterweight champion Aaron "Hawk" Pryor to talk about his past, present and future and to get his thoughts on the current state of boxing. Pryor discusses his battles and friendship with Alexis Arguello, his thoughts on Floyd Mayweather Jr. as well as another former welterweight champion in Kostya Tszyu and much more. Check it out!

JF: Tell what you been up to lately Aaron?

AP: I've been recovering from surgery and I'm an associate minister at my church. I've been hanging out with my son Aaron Jr. and giving him advice on his career. I've also been doing appearences in the us and around the world.

JF: Tell us about your sons that are fighting?

AP: Well you know I decided not to train none of my boys. My children are like any other children. You know, I'm the best in boxing. You know I know boxing more than anything I've been doing since I was 13 years old. But I tell my kids to throw a right hand and they throw a left hook. Now That's alright because my kids are normal. Emanuel Steward had me that last Arguello fight and he's on HBO and in Las Vegas and he's worked with alot of fighters. But I was one of the first fighters to give him the opportunity to make real big bucks. Now I've never asked Manny for nothing. Never asked him for a dime, but i asked him to work with my son Aaron Jr. And he's taking Aaron Jr. He's 5-0 now with 4 KO's. He's fightin down in detroit and he's doin real good and I'm proud of him for sticking up there because alot of people don't know how serious you are, but if you go to training camp, you're serious. Now my other son, his name is Stephan and he's 9-1, but he hasn't fought in a year or so. My kids, you tell em to go right, they go left. I tell my son to stay away from the drug dealers and you will be alright. My son Stephan, he made alittle money, 9-0 and tries to make more money on the street so he doesn't fight for a year. I said listen, I'm not going to be dealing with you as long as you dealing with people that are dealing with drugs or whatever. I'm not dealing with you period even though I'm your daddy. I quit dealing with him. Whatever happens, happens! And I've trained fighters, but I won't train my own children because they won't listen to me. But Aaron Jr. is doing good. He's working with Emanuel Steward.

JF: I heard you were helping Alexis Arguello's political campaign , can you tell us about that?

AP: The thing that i'm tryin to say is that Alexis is the real deal. I went to England two months ago and Alexis Arguello was running for vice mayor of Managua and I talked to him on the phone and said Lex look, I'll come down there, but don't let nothin happen to me. I know they got a lot of people over there fighting and I went down there. Me and my wife went down there and there was 350,000 people who showed up for one event. And now he's the vice mayor of that city and he's my friend and thats good becuase he's got a good personality. And his people know he is a real nice guy.

JF: I've heard that Ricardo Mayorga and Alexis Arguello got into a fist fight.

AP: Yeah, they got into a fist fight

JF: Did you witness the fight?

AP: No, but it was all in the media and stuff. This was a couple years ago. And Mayorga had interviews and told people he didn't like Alexis and this and that. so, you know, you got one guy and one guy trying to make it. Mayorga hasn't done what Alexis' done. He's vice mayor of a city. You know, I went down there and you have to want it. I still say Alexis is the greatest champion that country EVER had and is EVER going to see for a long while, because remember, nowadays these guys are going 12 rounds. We went 15 rounds. Now there's A big diffrence between a 12 round fight and a 15 round fight. With 12 rounds, we were just gettin ready for the last three rounds. So how you gonna compare yourself with a great fighter in there for 15 rounds...somebody trying to kill a 12 round fighter?

JF: Your fights with Alexis Arguello were legendary. How do you feel about Ricardo Mayorga saying that his fight with Oscar De La Hoya is the biggest fight in the history of Nicaragua considering the magnitude and the level that your fight with Alexis Arguello was fought on?

AP: I think there's a personal problem because Alexis don't like him and he don't like Alexis. Me and Alexis is friends. I wish Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier could be friends. They could make some money together. Most of the time, Alexis and I are called around the country to do autograph signings and do speaking engagements. Last month, me and Alexis went to England. We stayed over there and I think Mayorga is jealous of Alexis and he has not gotten where Alexis is and he may not get to where Alexis is.

JF: You lived a very up and down life...from being one of the greatest fighters in the world to being homeless to being shot at by people on the street to being shot by your wife and now your a preacher...there are rumors that someone is trying to make a movie about your life, whats going on with that?

AP: I've heard Ja Rule and some other famous stars that have been intrested in doing a movie of my life. I myself have done a book called "Flight of the Hawk". I feel like, you know, whoever is going to do this, the lord is going to send him to me and they will realize before they meet me what kind of person I am and how good this story is and how it would help other people's chemical dependence cause there's so many people that are using drugs that can't get off. If you know somebody that has gotten off, it's a blessing. Before, I met somebody and admired them and they got clean too. So I'm thankful that, when the time is right, the person that is supposed to do the next book on Aaron Pryor or movie of his life will do it. The Hall of Famer, Aaron Pryor...because I did go into the Hall of Fame in 1996, up in Canastota, NY. To be in the Hall of Fame is just a great, great, great thing. Every year I go up there, they have a parade. I have been recognized all over the world, but before I die, I'm trying to do some things to help other people.

JF: You vs. Kostya Tszyu, both in your primes, who wins?

AP: He showed real, real, real personality and when he showed me his personality, I realized that if I'd of fought Kostya Tszyu, he would of done the same thing he did in one of his fights...he quits on the stool. I believe he would of quit on the stool. If you got that kind of heart to do something like that...let me tell you something about boxing, if you have been doing it since you was 13 and you now 50 or you now 30 or whatever, if you love this sport, then you do the many things the sport asks you to do. But the one thing you don't do is you don't quit on the stool. I don't care what would've happened to me, I would never quit on the stool. I would let the referee say stop the fight before I stopped the fight myself or let my coaches do it. And I saw him do that and you know, it kind of made me feel like maybe the fighters he fought wasn't so good...that's why he looked so good.

JF: Name three fighers in history who you wish you could fight?

AP: I would fight Sugar Ray Leonard. I wish I could have fought Boom Boom Mancini and Marvin Hagler.

JF: How do you think a fight between Aaron pryor vs Floyd Mayweather would have panned out?

AP: He fights so much like me, it would have been anybody's fight because you gonna have two people who can box and punch. He'd be tryin to box me and I'd be tryin to punch know how that goes. So it would have been a fight for me if I was fighting today. I think I've made the right decisions. You know, Muhammed Ali and his people came to Cincinnati and kicked me out of the lightweight division and gave me a shot at the junior welterweight title. I really wanted to be lightweight champion, but I wasn't going to get a shot then. So I had no problem making my weight at 140.

JF: Anything you'd like to say to the boxing world?

AP: You know, the one thing that I'd like to say to anybody reading this interview is that with all my ups and downs and where I'm at now in my know, for most fighters, including my children, the only time that I'm going to interact in what they doing is when they are talking about getting hurt...the one thing about boxing is when it's all said and done, I always wanted to be able to have sense enough to talk where people could hear me and understand me. I'm 50 years old now and I thank God for this interview and to be able to share with people this experience. Like I said. I got shot, my ex-wife shot me in 79, and I got kidnapped and I got robbed in Florida and all these things mean something. I just thank God that I'm still here and can talk to people. Same thing could happen to someone else.

JF: Did the kidnappers get any money from you Aaron?

AP: They didn't get any money from me because black people are diffrent from any race of people. You can't call my mom and get nothin'. I can't even get no money from my mom. If I gave my mom some money, I can't call her and get it back from her. It's not like that. You know the culture is diffrent. The police broke in there and thats how I got cleared.

JF: Thank you Aaron

AP: Your welcome