Of Scandals and Controversies: Pryor, Arguello, and the Black Bottle
Perfect opposites are the foundation of classic fights. The worn-out hero versus villain storyline wherein at the end, the hero as usual will be triumphant but in the case of Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello, it didn't turned out to be.
Arguello, a gracious man in and out of the boxing ring, a true sportsman, the best to personify the word "gentlemen" an easy guy to root for. Arguello, a Nicaraguan political exile could systematically tear apart his opponents with organ-jolting left hooks and decapitating straight-rights, and then kindly thank them for their efforts.
"Of course after the fight you want to make sure that you're okay and so is the other guy, it's a brotherhood in there, so you want to make sure everyone is okay after the war is over" -Alexis Arguello
On the other corner there's Pryor one of the best in the era but still seeks for recognition. Yes, he was a champion but few fighters would want to get in the ring with him.
"Ray Leonard moved up in weight to avoid Pryor" - Butch Lewis
Both men looking for competition, Arguello and his legion of fans want to make history by becoming the first ever four-division world champion While Pryor wants respect, so a fight was staged. 23,800 spectators, most of which is pro-Arguello came out to fill Miami's Orange Bowl.
The fight as expected starts strong with both fighters giving all they've got. Trading and absorbing punches throughout the first two rounds but as the fight progress Pryor seemed to get the better of the exchanges.
Arguello rallied back in the middle rounds, stunning Pryor but the champion always bounces back.
"That was Pryor, he would take your best punch, spit in your eye and then kick your ass" - Buddy La Rosa
At the end of the 13th round, HBO microphones caught Pryor’s trainer, Panama Lewis, saying to cutman Artie Curley, “Give me the other bottle, the one I mixed.” Whatever that liquid was, Pryor swallowed it.
When the bell rang to start Round 14, Pryor flew from his corner, and after a few skirmishes, knocked Arguello into the ropes. Pryor battered Arguello, landing more than 15 unanswered punches before referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped the fight.
After the fight, controversy brewed as to what is the content of the bottle that somehow pumped and energize Pryor adding that to the fact that the newly-formed Miami Boxing Commission had neglected to collect urine samples after the fight.
Boxing rules only permitted the usage of water in the corner.
What should have been Pryor’s shining moment was marred in controversy. What was in the mysterious black bottle? Was it an amphetamine?
A rematch was inevitable, this time there's no black bottle, there was no Panama Lewis but the fight yield the same results. Pryor knocking out Arguello in the 10th.
But still the question remains, What's with the black bottle?
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