R.I.P. Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor
By David A. Avila
Boxing great Aaron Pryor passed away at the rather young age of 60. In his time he was one of the more feared prizefighters of the 1980s. During that period, possible showdowns with Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran were mega fights that never materialized but many a fight fan dreamed of those match ups.
Few boxers were as fierce as Pryor whose two super lightweight clashes with Nicaragua’s Alexis Arguello in 1982 and 1983 are considered all-time classics. The last time I spoke to Pryor was at a World Boxing Hall of Fame dinner in L.A. where he was honored in 2001.
“Drugs were my downfall,” said Pryor to me adding that he would have loved to have fought Leonard or Duran. “I would have dominated them.”
Pryor fought out of Cincinnati, Ohio and later fought out of the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Emanuel Steward the late head trainer of Kronk, once told me Pryor was so fierce that no one would spar him, including Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns. “Aaron Pryor was an animal inside the ring,” said Steward who passed away in 2012.
The last time Pryor visited the Inland Empire area was in 2011 when he accompanied his son Aaron Pryor Jr. at a fight at the Fantasy Springs Casino. Fans always gathered around the former great who was very appreciative of fans who remembered him. Pryor passed away on Sunday from a heart attack.
“I have great memories of his classic fights with Alexis Arguello,” said Tom Loeffler, director of K2 Promotions that guides current middleweight world champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin.
Speaking of Golovkin, the middleweight champion who holds the WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO titles seeks to face New York City’s Daniel Jacobs who holds the minor version of the WBA middleweight title before the end of this year.
Loeffler said negotiations are ongoing for a middleweight showdown between Golovkin and Jacobs.
“Our goal is to make the fight this year and naturally New York City would be a great location for the fight,” said Loeffler adding they are awaiting a decision from the WBA regarding purse bid splits this week.
Golovkin’s last win came via knockout against welterweight world champion Kell Brook in London, England this past September. It was his 23rd consecutive knockout win. Jacobs defeated East L.A.’s Sergio “Latin Snake” Mora by knockout on the same day as Golovkin’s win. If the fight takes place in Madison Square Garden it definitely will be a sell-out. New York fans love Golovkin.
Another fighter fans love is Victorville’s Ryan Garcia an 18-year-old super quick lightweight who has already amassed five pro wins in four months. The nearly six-footer will be fighting in Studio City at the Sportsman’s Lodge. A winner of multiple national titles as an amateur he seems to be right at home among the pros. Expect a large crowd to come support Garcia on Saturday at the Top Rank fight card. He hasn’t signed a promotional contract with any one company but has been making the rounds. Garcia also visited Golden Boy Promotions recently and trains in Las Vegas. He’s being pursued by all the major promotion companies who are always on the hunt for new undiscovered talent.
In Riverside, trainer and coach Henry Ramirez has a new gym called Raincross Boxing Academy and currently mentors heavyweight prospect Scott Alexander and a several others. Ramirez is more known for being the trainer of heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola.
Alexander, who lives in Moreno Valley, has a big heavyweight clash coming up against undefeated LaRon Mitchell (14-0) of San Francisco at the Doubletree Hotel on Oct. 21 in Ontario. Most times Alexander (12-1-2) has some problems finding heavyweight sparring, but against a southpaw problems increase.
“There are no heavyweight southpaws in California that we could find,” said Ramirez. “Luckily we found one in Phoenix. So we go there once a week and spend a few days there.”
Ramirez currently trains Arreola, Alexander, Corona’s Louie Lopez, San Bernardino’s Joshua Conley, and amateur standouts Jonah Flores and Anthony Cifuentes.