"Look," pleaded LaRosa, hanging on, "you've got a wife and family. Don't do anything you'll be sorry for later."
LaRosa kept talking, and finally the man shrugged, returned to his car and drove off. Later LaRosa said, "I think he was trying to taunt Aaron into swinging at him so he could shoot Aaron. God, I was never so scared in my life."
The final fight under King's aegis was last March, when Pryor beat Miguel Montilla. Then King, who had a renewal option, called LaRosa and Pryor's lawyer to New York. According to LaRosa, King was screaming. "I'd never seen him like that," LaRosa said. "He was yelling, 'You can have the son of a bitch. I've got too many fighters that don't cause me the grief and aggravation this kid causes me.' He signed the release." In King's view, Pryor's incessant demands for rooms, tickets, limousines, etc., were intolerable.
King has since tempered his opinion of Pryor. "He's an ingrate, but I like him," King says. "His problem is that he sees ghosts. He keeps looking into the past instead of the future. I know where he came from because I came from the same place. But I told him, 'You have to learn from your past.' He's without trust. I truly feel sorry for the young man and wish I could help him."
With King gone, Pryor signed for a mandatory defense against Akio Kameda of Japan last July. "We'll have to promote it ourselves," LaRosa told Pryor.
Pryor had other plans. Without telling LaRosa he signed a promotional contract with King's archrival, Arum, who agreed to handle the Kameda fight, a sure financial loser, in exchange for the right to promote the Arguello fight. Once more LaRosa went along.
Pryor stopped Kameda in the sixth round. Then LaRosa called Arum for a copy of the contract for the Arguello fight, so he could sign it. The parties had already agreed on a purse for Pryor of $1.6 million—Arguello is getting $1.5 million—and Arum was under orders from Pryor not to give LaRosa a copy of the contract. Arum told LaRosa's lawyer, Ken Seibel, the same thing. A few days later, LaRosa discovered that the contract called for a $1 million purse, in which he would share, plus $540,000 to be paid to Hawk Productions, a fight-promotion company, whose profits are not shared by LaRosa.
On Oct. 13, LaRosa filed suit in Hamilton (Ohio) County Common Pleas Court to stop the fight or tie up Pryor's purse.
"It's not fair," says Pryor.
"It's stupid," says LaRosa, who is technically still Pryor's manager. "If Aaron had just brought me the contract I probably would have signed it."