Aaron Pryor vs. Bobby Joe Young
1987-08-08 : Aaron Pryor 148 lbs lost to Bobby Joe Young 146¼ lbs by TKO at 0:29 in round 7 of 10
- Location: Sunrise Musical Theatre, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
- Referee: Bernie Soto
Pryor Knocked Out in Comeback
By Phil Berger
The New York Times
August 6, 1987
The Hawk no longer soars.
Aaron Pryor, who is nicknamed The Hawk, suffered the first loss of his career tonight when Bobby Joe Young knocked him out 29 seconds into the seventh round of a 10-round bout at the Sunrise Musical Theater here.
It was a bizarre ending for Pryor, who was trying to launch a comeback. In the seventh round, Pryor got nailed by a right to the side of his head. He staggered backward and fell to the canvas, then rose to his feet quickly.
As Referee Bernie Soto gave him the count, Pryor stood with his back to the official. Suddenly, and without explanation, he dropped to one knee and gave the sign of the cross. Soto resumed his count. When he reached 10, Pryor was still on one knee and the fight was over.
"He was dazed," said Walter Alvarez, Pryor's promoter. "He thought he hadn't been down. He thought he had more time."
Pryor had not fought since March 1985 when, as the International Boxing Federation junior welterweight champion, he beat Gary Hinton by a decision. Tonight, he was a mere shadow of the vintage boxer he once was.
His timing was off. His balance left much to be desired. And his body tone was poor in comparison to what it had been when he was a smoothly muscled champion. Pryor was attempting a comeback after an admitted problem with cocaine.
The 31-year-old Pryor got off to a shaky start. Young hit him with a right hand that drove him onto the seat of his trunks. Pryor was up by the count of five, showing an embarrassed smile.
"I was surprised," Pryor said of that first knockdown. "I was thinking lots of things: 'Wow! Is this supposed to happen?' It was just my rust."
"I wasn't too surprised I put him down," Young said. "We looked at films and saw he was open for the right hand. My trainer, Tommy Parks, and I worked on it."
After the initial knockdown, the 28-year-old Young continued to dominate. He bloodied Pryor's nose in the second and wobbled him frequently, usually with right-hand punches.
Young, who works as a freelance car leaser, said afterward that he thought Pryor was at least 90 percent of the fighter he used to be. It was a charitable estimate.
Pryor had his problems even before the opening bell. Minutes before the fight began, Pryor and Parks got into a hostile exchange.
Parks explained later that he told Pryor "he looked flabby around the gut." Pryor responded by pushing Parks, who backhanded the fighter. Both men were restrained by ring officials.
After the loss, Pryor said that the incident "threw my concentration off."
"The guy hit me," Pryor said. "Did you see that? He hit me in the mouth. I had blood in my mouth."
According to Alvarez, the Pryor camp filed a protest after the fight, claiming that Young's corner used ammonia capsules to invigorate the fighter between rounds. But Harry Brennan, an administrative assistant of the Florida State Athletic Commission, said: "An ammonia capsule was found around ringside. But it's going to be hard to prove how it was used. Nobody saw it being used. We'll see if anything shows up in the post-fight tests."
Pryor's long layoff was not due to events that had occurred in the ring.
According to Pryor, his career was derailed by a descent into drug dependency that began shortly after his November 1982 victory over Alexis Arguello, the first of two classic battles he waged against Arguello while Pryor was the World Boxing Association junior welterweight champion.
Pryor Versus Young on Youtube 
After the bout, commentator Harold Lederman interviewed Young in the ring, and fellow commentator Randy Gordon interviewed Pryor and Alexis Arguello at ringside. Prior to the bout, Arguello went to Pryor's dressing room and unsuccessfully begged him not to go through with the fight.