How good was Aaron Pryor?

Discussion in 'Boxing News and Discussion' started by Joonie73, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. Joonie73

    Joonie73 Guest

    Let me 1st clarify my position, lest I be misunderstood. I think Pryor is over-rated, but when I say Pryor is "over-rated," I don't mean that he wasn't a great fighter. I have him around #6 on my lightweight list & I also think that he was one of the top 40 pound-per-pound fighters of all-time. What I do object to, however, are the following claims. There are a number of people (& they are not necessarily all Pryor fanatics nor a miniscule minority among well-informed fans) who believe that Pryor had a very good chance of beating or flat-out would have even beaten Duran, Leonard, and/or Hearns. I find this position rather preposterous. Further, I also think that to have him at top 20 all-time pound-per-pound list is a bit of stretch, given the shortcomings of his record & the flaws he displayed in his arsenal, which better fighters (in their prime) would have taken advantage of, had Pryor faced them.

    I actually don't have a lot of time this morning so let me be succinct. Record-wise, I don't see anything that justifies holding Pryor in such high esteem. Pryor never ever fought a great fighter or even a near-great in his prime. His 2 best wins are over a blown-up & past-prime Arguello & even more past-prime Cervantes. Let's examine these 2 opponents.

    Arguello was indeed a great fighter & he is in my top 20 all-time pound-per-pound list. However, he wasn't a great fighter at 140. In fact, I am not even sure he was one at 135 after further consideration. The man was at his best at 126 & 130. Prior to Pryor, Arguello struggled mightily v. Mancini, a fight that I felt he was losing on points until the knockout. And Mancini, while a good fighter, was no Duran or Ike Williams. Further, there is of course age & ring wear issues. Arguello was already closing in on his 31st birthday by Pryor I & he had already had 82 fights. And Arguello was not terribly elusive guy & even when he won, he was tagged quite a lot.

    And yet in spite of all that, Arguello was very competitive with the prime Pryor in their 1st fight; in fact, he was up in 1 of the cards. Fine, I admit that that judge may have been generous to Pryor, as I had Pryor up by a good margin. It could be that, like Duran v. Hagler, the judges were more sympathetic to a guy trying to make a history by winning 4 divisions. But that doesn't erase the fact that an old, blown-up Arguello was very competitive with Pryor. Some of you may say that that Arguello was still formidable. I agree but would he have been as competitive with the prime Benitez or Locche? I have my doubts.

    Now, let's look at Cervantes. Yes, Pryor ran rough-shod over him. But that Cervantes was even more washed-up than Arguello of the Pryor fights. And I do not exaggerate when I say "washed-up." Cervantes was 34 years old at the time & 4 years removed from losing to Benitez. Moreover, he had gone life & death with the fabulous Kwang-Min Kim (who was pummelled by the legendary Duk-Koo Kim) a few fights prior. Because Cervantes fought many Asian fighters in his prime, a number of his fights were televised in Asia. And I can tell you that the version that fought Kim or Pryor were a pathetic shell of himself. Comparisons to the Tyson that fought Lewis is not overdoing it, in my opinion. To me, this win is almost meaningless.

    So you have ultimately 2 wins over past prime greats or near-greats, in 1 of which Pryor struggled mightily & have shown signs that he may have been beaten by the younger & prime version (of Arguello).

    Am I being too tough on Pryor? Perhaps. Is it true that anyone's ledger can be picked apart & made to look ordinary? Sure. But I don't see the powerful counter-arguments that I would find in other so-called greats.

    I have to cut this short, as I have to go somewhere this morning. But again, let's come back to my main complaint. Again, I am not saying that Pryor was not a great fighter. But: On the basis of what he has showed & accomplished (including Pryor's stylistic shortfalls, which I haven't even explored yet), what solid reasons can we glean that would make him competitive with Duran, Leonard & Hearns, let alone beat them? I keep hearing, as a common mantra, that Pryor dropped Leonard in sparring & he beat Hearns in the amateurs. So what? These 2 topics have been already beat to death in this forum, but to reiterate:

    1. I don't see what Pryor dropping Leonard in a sparring session proves. Not only is sparring session just that, but Leonard had a granite chin at 147 & Pryor wasn't a huge puncher even at 140. Do we really assume from this folk tale that Pryor hits hard enough to hurt Leonard with single shots?

    2. Hearns was 17 & Pryor was 20 when they fought as amateurs. One was a boy & the other a man. Further, Hearns' game changed a lot more dramatically than did Pryor in the aftermath.

    As I see it, I don't see how Pryor could be even competitive with Duran, Leonard or Hearns, esp. the latter 2, as they were eminently bigger men & possessed numerous physical advantages. Arguello was able to hurt Pryor on numerous occasions. Now imagine if those punches were Leonard's hooks or Hearn's right crosses. Not only would these guys (as well as Duran) land harder than Arguello but would land a lot more frequently, as they all had faster hands than Arguello (the speed gap, which was a pivotal factor v. Arguello, wouldn't be enjoyed by Pryor against any of these guys). It is also possible that Pryor's great stamina may be sapped more easily against these guys, as I envision them being more committed to the body (except maybe Hearns), as Arguello seemed to head-hunt more against Pryor than should have been warranted.

    I also think that on the basis of his record & what he showed in terms of skills (& in particular how those things would come together in a head-to-head v. peer fighters), he doesn't deserve a top 20 pound-per-pound rating. But that's for another day. I have already written too much...
  2. dmille

    dmille Guest

    Pryor was the American HAWK
  3. Xplosive

    Xplosive Member

    I think he would have given Leonard, and Duran both a fairly good fight(though he would have lost to both). Hearns woulda crushed him. Pryor IMO is the best 140 pounder in history. I'd have picked him over Chavez, Tszyu, Benitez, or anybody else at that weight. He was a great fighter, with a VERY difficult style to deal with, unfortunetely, his prime was short lived due to his drug problem.

    [ December 28, 2003, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: X-man ]
  4. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    I thought Chavez was a more complete fighter and accomplished more at 140. I rate him at #1 at 140. Pryor was very good but you have to wonder how much of that was assisted by the nose candy. ;)
  5. Joonie73

    Joonie73 Guest

    One interesting question is who would've won if Arguello that Pryor fought was matched up with the Taylor that Chavez was matched up.
  6. Xplosive

    Xplosive Member

    Bullshit! How many coke head champions have there been in history? Were they all assisted by coke? People who try to bring up the coke to attempt and diminish how good Pryor was are the same people who claim Tito had loaded gloves. HATERS! Pryor didn't need no coke to whoop ass! It was only speculated that he did in the first Arguello fight, then Aaron came back in the rematch without the help of the "magic bottle" and whooped Alex's ass even worse. Maybe I should start a rumor that Chavez had such a high tolerance for pain becuz he was DRUNK during his fights.
  7. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    Watch Arguello 1. He definitely sniffed something up his nose. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Xplosive

    Xplosive Member

    I think Arguello would have KO'd Taylor. Why? Becuz Meldrick always had a leaky defense, and Arguello at 140 was still a sharp shooter, and STILL possesed more power than Chavez.
  9. Xplosive

    Xplosive Member

    If Pryor needed coke to help him in the first fight, then why didn't Alex come back and beat him in the rematch?
  10. Joonie73

    Joonie73 Guest

    While I do think Pryor is somewhat over-rated, I am not sure if Chavez was more "accomplished" at the weight. I think Arguello & Taylor were equally formidable at the weight & suffice to say, Chavez struggled a lot more with Taylor. Chavez also was beaten by Randall once & he didn't acquit himself well in the rematch either.

    Also, head-to-head, Chavez does not beat Pryor at 140. A better match-up in pound-per-pound sense maybe.

  11. Xplosive

    Xplosive Member

    You do know its blasphmey to go against Chavez on this forum, right? :D

    I agree with you.

    [ December 28, 2003, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: X-man ]
  12. The Hitman

    The Hitman Hitman

    he was past his prime, two divisions above his best weight and it was something like his 80th fight. how old was pryor? me thinks its safe to say he had a little less wear and tear on him. a 14 round war is going to have a bit more of an effect on an old man over his best weight who has been in LONG fights for over ten year

  13. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    Arguello was a blown-up, past his prime, 126-130 pound fighter with a shitload of ringwear.
  14. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    Arguello possessed great power at 140? Who did he ever KO there? [​IMG]
  15. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    Taylor was much more superior than Arguello at 140. He was in his prime unlike Arguello. No contest.

    Chavez struggled with Randall when he was way past his prime. IMO Chavez' wasn't even in his prime against Haugen or Camacho. He was visibly much slower on his feet, his hands were slower, and his physical shape had begun to deteriorate by that point.

    [ December 28, 2003, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Rebel ]
  16. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

  17. Lefthooker

    Lefthooker Member

    Sorry, but Pryor is another fighter whose relatively short, though explosive career, tends to be exaggerated. It is one of those 'what if...' scenarios.
    He was a buzzsaw with decent power and an edge -of-your-seat style.
    I loved watching him.
    I can not see him beating Chavez at 140.There is no evidence to support that position IMO.
    The coke addiction came at the very end of his career, so I agree that references to that side of his life - either as a performance enhancer or as a dibilitating force - are greatly overused.
    The Arguello he beat - in a life or death struggle - was way past his best, that can't be refuted.
    Fun to watch. Exciting as hell. But there is no solid evidence that he was a true top echelon fighter.
    Perhaps he was - the facts don't , however , support it.
    Which means it's a matter of opinion rather than history.
  18. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    Good post. I agree. I guess it comes down to preference of style, race, or straight up hate. [​IMG]

    [ December 28, 2003, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: Rebel ]
  19. Tam-Tam

    Tam-Tam Member

    I've been on holidays for the last couple of weeks, (still am, so im posting this form my bed right now) which is why I've been quiet - and its also why I couldn't be bothered drawing out a long winded argument here. BUT, Chavez is certainly inferior to Pryor at 140. I don't even think its that close, even though I rank Chavez #3 all-time at the weight.

    Two HOF fighter's, who although past their primes, were knocked out 3 times. Chavez doesn't have ANY wins over HOF fighter's in his entire career and certainly none over anyone @ 140. Junior Welter was Chavez's worst weight that he campaigned at. (not including 147 or + here) He was simply a faded, slower champion, who beat up the best of a reasonably so-so bunch of fighters that existed at the weight during that time.

    Pryor would have beaten Chavez over the 12 or 15 IMO.
  20. Rebel

    Rebel Admin

    What prime all-time great did Pryor ever beat? [​IMG]

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