Remembering Aaron Pryor, the all-time great boxer who rolled with the punches

Aaron Pryor’s career was cut short by reckless choices made outside the ring but he should be celebrated for the relentless, attacking style he employed in it

By Matthew Swain for The Queensberry Rules, of the Guardian Sport Network

A variety of boxing phrases have entered the lexicon of the general public. Probably the most well known is “roll with the punches”. It describes a specific skill within our sport, but almost everyone understands what it means on an intellectual and emotional level.

The exact boxing technique is something I learned when fighting, but not well enough to explain, so I reached out to boxing coach Joel Stern for a fuller explanation. The gist is that you block as much of the incoming punch as you can but don’t brace for it, and allow the momentum from it move you into a position to punch back even harder. How the blow hits you will dictate what you can return fire with, but you have to be willing to take the force and use it to your advantage. It’s a skill that most fighters never master and even fewer people truly understand. It requires you to absorb pain and convert it into energy.

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