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Pryor Reportedly Has a Drug Problem; Arum, Pacheco Voice Their Concern

September 05, 1985

The Miami Herald reported in its Wednesday editions that boxer Aaron Pryor has a drug-dependency problem that could end his career.

Pryor, 29, is 36-0 and holds the International Boxing Federation junior-middleweight title. His most famous bouts were two title fights against Alexis Arguello.

The Herald reported that Pryor stumbles through the streets of Miami's ghetto, Liberty City, handing out $50 and $100 bills to strangers and admits he has visited free-base houses in the area. Free-basing is a method of using cocaine.

Promoter Bob Arum said that Pryor is headed for trouble unless he changes his life style.

"Whether he's broke now, or whether he's broke in six months, it's just a matter of time," he said. After seeing Pryor six weeks ago, Arum said he was "absolutely shocked" by the fighter's appearance. "Until he undergoes a radical transformation of his life style, he's through boxing."

Pryor has fought just twice since the last Arguello fight in September, 1983. His last win was over Gary Hinton in Atlantic City in March.

Two months after the second Arguello fight, he was arrested in Los Angeles on cocaine-possession charges.

The Herald reported that Pryor admits having tried drugs but denied he is dependent on cocaine.

NBC boxing analyst Ferdie Pacheco is also disturbed by Pryor's appearance.

"He looked like Dachau (a Nazi concentration camp)," Pacheco said. "Aaron is a very fragmented personality. . . . It goes with chemical dependency."

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