Cincinnati boxing great Aaron 'The Hawk' Pryor dies at 60

Posted at 11:13 AM, Oct 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 12:39:22-04

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Pryor's age; he would have been 61 years old on Oct. 20. WCPO regrets this error.

CINCINNATI -- Local boxing great Aaron Pryor, voted the "Greatest Junior Welterweight of the Century" by the Associated Press, died early Sunday. He was 60 years old.

Known by his nickname "The Hawk," Pryor was the World Boxing Association Junior Welterweight Champion from 1980 to 1983 and the International Boxing Federation Junior Welterweight Champion from 1983 to 1985.

He retired in 1991 with a 39-1 record, with 35 knockouts. Pryor was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001.

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Pryor struggled with substance abuse during his career; in retirement, he spent time encouraging people to steer clear of drugs.

Pryor's death came after a long battle with heart disease. 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."

Boxing champ Sugar Ray Leonard said Pryor was a fighter to the end.

"I have great love, respect and admiration for my long-time friend," Leonard said. "He will be greatly missed by so many."

Pryor's son, Aaron Pryor Jr., and local restaurateur Buddy LaRosa, who managed Pryor during his professional career, plan to speak about Pryor's life and death Monday at the Over the Rhine Boxing Center.

Pryor also is survived by his son Antwan Harris, daughter Elizabeth Wagner and grandsons Adam, Austin and Aaron Pryor III.