FAMILY STATEMENT REGARDING THE DEATH OF HALL OF FAME BOXER AARON ‘THE HAWK’ PRYOR
October 9, 2016
We are heartbroken and sad to announce that Hall of Fame Boxing Champion Aaron Pryor passed away at home surrounded by family at 5:57am today after a long battle with heart disease. Aaron was known around the world as “The Hawk” and delighted millions of fans with his aggressive and crowd-pleasing boxing style. But to our family, he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. We appreciate the outpouring of condolences and sympathy and ask that our family be allowed time to grieve and mourn his loss.
Frankie Pryor, wife of Aaron Pryor
Pryor’s son, Aaron Pryor, Jr, representing the family, and Buddy LaRosa, long-time boxing enthusiast who managed and mentored Aaron Pryor during his professional career will be available for in-person interviews as follows:
- Monday, October 10 from 11am to 1pm
- Over the Rhine Boxing Center Home of the Golden Gloves Boxing Program for Youth
1715 Republic Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Aaron Pryor Background
Witnessing the human hurricane that was Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor was like seeing Henry Armstrong...and the whirlwind has not been seen since. Pryor’s, frenetic, punch-a-second style endeared him to fans around the globe. To the chants of “Hawk Time, Hawk Time”, Pryor brought one thrilling moment after another to the crowds who thronged to see his fights during the 1980’s.
Pryor, born in Cincinnati in 1955, was a terror in the amateur ranks (204-16) culminating as an alternate on the 1976 Olympic team. He turned pro in 1976 after the Olympics and quickly tore through the lightweight and junior welterweight ranks. Under the guidance of his Manager, local businessman and restaurateur Buddy LaRosa, Pryor dominated his competition and earned a shot at legendary Colombian champion Antonio Cervantes in August of 1980. That night in Cincinnati at Riverfront Coliseum, Pryor dismantled Cervantes in four rounds, and a star was born.
Pryor easily moved through the Jr. Welterweight Ranks and in 1982, Pryor and Alexis Arguello would face off in what was later named the Fight of the Decade by Ring Magazine. Pryor and Arguello engaged in toe-to-toe warfare for 14 rounds before the great Arguello finally succumbed to the equally great Pryor. The rematch, a year later, was much easier for Pryor, and he took out Alexis in ten rounds.
The Hawk defended his title eleven times and retired in 1991 with a 39-1 (35 KO’s) record. As the WBA Jr. Welterweight Champ from 1980-1983 and the IBF Jr. Welterweight Champ from 1983-1985, Pryor firmly established his place in boxing history. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. In December 1999 the Associated Press voted Aaron Pryor as the “Greatest Jr. Welterweight of the Century.” In retirement, Pryor traveled the world making personal appearances and spreading his anti-drug message.
Upon hearing the news of Pryor’s passing, Sugar Ray Leonard, Hall of Fame Inductee & World Champion, said “The Hawk fought until the very end. I have great love, respect and admiration for my long-time friend. He will be greatly missed by so many.”
Ed Brophy, Director of the International Boxing Hall of Fame stated, “The Hall of Fame joins the world-wide boxing community in mourning the passing of 1996 IBHOF Inductee Aaron “The Hawk’ Pryor. Hall of Fame flags will be flown at half-mast in honor of this great, great champion.”
Pryor’s long-time mentor, friend and manager Buddy LaRosa said, “It’s a sad day for boxing. Aaron was such a tremendous fighter, and a fierce competitor. It will be his hall of fame career that boxing will always remember as his legacy. I will miss him, and send my thoughts and prayers to his family.”
Pryor is survived by his wife and partner of over a quarter of a century, Frankie Pryor, sons Aaron Pryor Jr .and Antwan Harris, daughter Elizabeth Wagner and three grandsons Adam, Austin and Aaron Pryor III. Additional information about Aaron Pryor is available at www.aaronpryor.com.
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