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"No, I don't want to fight him. My new attorney told me not to sign anything until you and I work out a new contract." So much for the firing of LaRosa.
By the time they worked out a new agreement, the chance to fight Duran—and the $750,000 payday—was gone. The new contract covered six years; LaRosa's share was cut to one-third and he no longer had any ancillary rights. Expenses were to come off the top.
"The ink wasn't even dry on the damn contract," says LaRosa, "when I found out Aaron had signed a one-year promotional contract with Don King, who was going to give him a $100,000 bonus. Then King sent me the contract to sign. I told Aaron it was a mistake, but if that was what he wanted, then I'd sign.
"Aaron said, 'But King is going to get me a Duran fight, a Mamby fight, because he's got Duran and Mamby.'
" 'Aaron,' I said, 'we had a Duran fight, but you didn't want it.' "
Pryor's partnership with King lasted only three fights. In the first, in June of 1981, he stopped Lennox Blackmoore in two. The following November he beat Dujuan Johnson in seven.
It was just before the Johnson fight that LaRosa saved Pryor's life. In a rage, Pryor fired a friend from his entourage. "No problem," said the friend. But when the man showed up several days later at the Findlay Street Neighborhood House, a community center where Pryor was working out, Pryor ordered him from the building.
"Hey," said the former friend, "this is a public building, and I just came in to watch you work out."
At that point Pryor ordered two of his bodyguards, both black belts in karate, to evict the man. A few hours later, word was spread that the man was gunning for Pryor. The following morning LaRosa picked up Pryor and seven others to do roadwork. Just as they had finished their run and were returning to LaRosa's car the now irate former friend drove up. Hand in his coat pocket, the man began to curse Pryor. The sparring partners turned and ran. But LaRosa went up and put his hand on the man's arm.
"Get your hands off me, Buddy," the man said.