These kind of stories can be difficult to write. Not just because of the emotion of it all, but because truly encapsulating who a man is and all the things he represents can be an arduous task. I won't even pretend this article will do justice to the man his family and friends loved, but I will say that boxing lost a legend today. Aaron "The Hawk" Pryor passed away early this morning at age 60, after succumbing to a long battle with heart disease.
Pryor was WBA junior welterweight champion from 1980-1983, IBF junior welterweight champion from 1983-1985, and finished his career with a record of 39-1 (35 KOs). Pryor was also inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996.
Many of those who watched him during his career will remember his oft-chanted "Hawk Time" saying, but I'll mostly remember him for his two standout fights against fellow legend Alexis Arguello as well as the fight that he couldn't get against Sugar Ray Leonard.
Pryor could really put on a show for fans, and perhaps the scariest thing about him was that the worse you hurt him, the more dangerous he became. That's probably best evidenced by his 1982 title fight against Akio Kameda.
Of course Pryor also dealt with some personal issues outside of the ring, struggling with substance abuse during his fighting career. Yet after the Cincinnati native retired from boxing, he spent a good deal of time trying to get others to avoid the pitfalls he had to overcome, even serving as a mentor for young local stars such as Adrien Broner.
After the news broke of Pryor's passing today, his family asked for time to mourn their loss.
"Aaron was known around the world as 'The Hawk' and delighted millions of fans with his aggressive and crowd-pleasing boxing style," widow Frankie Pryor said. "But to our family, he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend."
Pryor is survived by his wife, son Antwan Harris, daughter Elizabeth Wagner, and three grandchildren. We extend our condolences and best wishes to his family.