The prefight buildup for Saturday's WBC title bout one weight step down from the Sugary division, junior welterweight champion Aaron Pryor against challenger Gaetan Hart, has grown downright ugly. And scary.
We have Canadian lightweight champ Hart saying he was having a hard enough time trying to forget that Cleveland Denny died after being knocked out by Hart on the Leonard-Duran card in Montreal last June and that Ralph Racine is still partly paralyzed from effects of being Hart's previous victim, in May. And Hart's manager angered by a story in a Canadian weekend newspaper supplement, saying as it did that Canada's boxing regulations regarding taping of the hands are loosely enforced and that excess tape might have strengthened Hart's punch for the Denny bout.
No truth to that, Andy Nadon, the manager, insists -- and calls on the boxing commission in Cincinnati, unbeaten Pryor's hometown and site of the fight (4:30 p.m., WDVM-TV-9), to have both fighters undergo brain scans to make sure there is no latent damage going into action.
And we have Pryor (26-0 with 24 knockouts) dedicating the fight to Racine, bringing him from Niagara Falls, Ontario, for the occasion and saying, "I want Ralph Racine to see what I do to Hart -- to pay him back for what he did to Racine."