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The Battle of The Champions

In November 12 of 1982, Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello met in a boxing match that promoter Don King billed as The Battle Of The Champions.

The fight itself had many behind the scenes plots and stories that could have made for a Hollywood script. It pitted the good guy (Arguello) vs the bad guy (Pryor). Arguello was a clean living man, dedicated to his wife and family, who had to emigrate to the USA to avoid facing the Nicaraguan government that had threatened to ruin him. Pryor, on the other hand, was a known drug abuser who was facing a pending divorce and had a careless, reckless lifestyle.

It also pitted the man trying to make history vs the man trying to be a part of it. Ironically, it was Arguello, the challenger, who was the known fighter of the pairing. Having won three titles and conquered all of Latin America with his gentlemanship and sociable demeanor, Arguello, who was trying to make history by becoming the first boxer ever to win world titles in 4 divisions, was the fighter that the fans turned their TV's on to watch. The night's broadcaster, HBO, had televised two of Arguello's bouts before, while for Pryor, it was his first fight telecast on that channel. Despite having beaten the legendary hall of famer Antonio 'Kid Pambele' Cervantes[?] for the world championship and having a record of 31-0 with 29 knockouts, Pryor was also fighting to make history, in his own way. He wanted to put himself in history.The fact his brother is Richard Pryor, the movie star, helped fuel his desire to become a household name that night too.

It pitted two men on a mission, and when these two men clashed, their fight had nothing to envy from the fights in Clash Of The Titans[?] cause it really was a clash of the titans. Pryor upset everybody by taking on the attack to the always strong Arguello in the first four rounds. Arguello started rallying around the fifth , and by the sixth, it had broken into a full scale slug fest. Rounds seven to nine were nonstop give and take. Pryor, however, had taken a slight advantage on the judge's cards. By round eleven it looked as if Arguello would go out soon. In the twelfth, however, he reacted vigorously, and had Pryor shaking from various right hands and lefts to the head. After the bell rang and Pryor had been put in some serious trouble, the moment that later created a full blown boxing scandal happened. At Pryor's corner, Panama Lewis, later convicted for removing padding from another one of his boxer's gloves in a fight and ultimately leading to the death of that boxer's rival, introduced a mysterious bottle which seemed to re-invigorate Pryor when he came back for round 13. When somebody noticed that the bottle had been brought from outside the ring into Pryor's corner in between rounds, a controversy broke out and lasted for months, after which the WBA correctly issued an order for a rematch, which was fought September 15th, 1983. Whatever that bottle contained will always remain a mystery, but Pryor came back alive in round 13 and punished Arguello with rights and lefts from all angles. Arguello seemed spent and the fight had obviously taken a toll on him. He wasn't going to give up, however, and came out for the 14th trying to overcome the odds. Pryor buckled his knees in the ring center and Arguello backpedaled, with Pryor in hot pursuit. When Pryor caught Arguello against the ropes, he launched a frightening 19 punch combination that left Arguello helpless and almost falling out of the ring. Referee Stanley Christodoulou[?] of South Africa had no choice but to stop it right there. The fight became known as the fight of the decade[?] by Ring Magazine and one of the greatest battles of all time.

Pryor and Arguello fought 10 months later in another good, albeit not as fantastic, rematch in Las Vegas, Pryor winning again by a knockout in ten rounds. Both men retired after the second match, and although only one achieved what he wanted on the night of November 12, 1982, both achieved something not too many boxers can claim: They both participated in one of the greatest encounters of all time.

As life turns, Pryor later became the good guy and Arguello ran into trouble with the law. Pryor became a minister after recovering from his life in the world of drugs, and is now an example to the youth and citizens of Cincinatti[?], Ohio. Arguello, after joining the Contras for a short period of time in the war against the Sandinistas[?], tried many comebacks but was unsuccessful, divorced, and went into drugs. He is right now trying to bounce back and become an exemplary father and citizen for all of Nicaragua.

Both of them are proud to be members of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.



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