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9. Aaron Pryor

Posterity will remember ‘The Hawk’ as an under achiever who pressed the self destruct button when the world lay at his feet but the brilliance of his prime and extraordinary fighting attributes allow him to squeak home here.

While there have been fighters who campaigned in and around the 10 stone mark with a better body of work, Cincinnati’s finest boxing export might just have been the greatest light welterweight world champion in the history of the division.

A veritable whirlwind with unorthodox skills and stylings that made him extremely hard to ‘figure out’, Pryor was also a concussive puncher who could beat you with volume or power, as 35 KO’s from 39 victories duly attest.

Annexing the WBA 140 pound title from Antonio Cervantes in 1980, it is a pair of wins over the great Alexis Arguello that truly define Aaron’s legacy inside the squared circle, with their first encounter in Miami, 1982, is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest fights of any decade.

Had he not fallen prey to the fashionable U.S  inner city epidemic of crack cocaine perhaps this gloved ‘bird of prey’ would have nailed down the mega fights he craved vs Hector Camacho and Sugar Ray Leonard and become greater still. Without the self imposed narcotic handicap, he’d have taken some beating.

That much is certain.

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