Former welterweight contender Andy "Hawk" Price had a great amateur career and turned pro in 1972. Price would find himself in the ring with many of the best welterweights of the era, including Carlos Palomino, Pipino Cuevas, Harold Weston, Dave 'Boy" Green and Sugar Ray Leonard. Price, however, would never get a shot at a world title. He was inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. He retired with a final record of 33-8-3.
(SM) Andy when did you first start boxing?
(AP) I think I was about ten years old. My mother moved down the street from a gym and I got involved then.
(SM) Were you good as an amateur?
(AP) I had an outstanding career. I won the Jr. Golden Gloves in 1964 and 1969. I won the Jr. Olympics in 1970, the Las Vegas Golden Gloves in 1971, the Los Angeles Golden Gloves in
1972 and the Diamond Belt Championship in 1972.
(SM) Did you have any boxing heroes growing up?
(AP) You know really only Hedgemon Lewis, I respected him.
(SM) When did you turn pro?
(AP) In 1972 against a guy named Gonzalo Rodriguez, it was a four round draw.
(SM) Where did you get the nickname "Hawk"?
(AP) From the bolo punch, Kid Gavilan. People would hang out in the gym and they used to call me the "Baby Hawk.”
(SM) You were undefeated when you took on an 8-8 Rudy Barro in 1974, and were KOd. What happened?
(AP) I hurt Rudy in the first round, got cocky and Rudy was a tremendous puncher. He caught me flush and knocked me out cold.
(SM) Let me throw out some fights you had and give me your take on them. Carlos Palomino?
(AP) Very good fighter. I knew I could beat Carlos though because I knew he made some simple mistakes in the ring.
(SM) Pipino Cuevas?
(AP) This was supposed to be a title elimination bout. They said the winner would get a title shot. I boxed his brains out! Then Espada fights Cuevas instead of me? Our lawyers met and the Espada team said he was being offered a lot of money to fight Cuevas. Six weeks later he went to Mexico thinking that if I beat Cuevas he could as well. Well he went to Mexico and got knocked out.
(SM) Harold Weston?
(AP) Very close fight, he was real good fighter. I think he got the decision because he was a New York boy.
(SM) Dave "Boy" Green?
(AP) A terrible decision! He was tough as nails though.
(SM) Sugar Ray Leonard?
(AP) I didn't follow my corners’ instructions to keep my hands up and move. For some reason I thought I could knock Ray out and I went out and tried. I just got caught and he got me instead.
(SM) Was Leonard the toughest fighter you ever fought?
(AP) No, Pipino Cuevas.
(SM) You never got a chance at a world title, why?
(AP) You know, all the champions at the time, I beat them already. Palomino and Cuevas weren't gonna fight me again. I almost stopped Palomino and Cuevas's people said I didn't have a style they wanted because I didn't stand still. They
were protecting their belts. I was promoted right, I had Burt Reynolds and Lee Majors, so it wasn't about money.
(SM) What's the highest you were ranked in your career?
(AP) I was number six in the world at one point.
(SM) What about Hearns and Duran, any talks with them?
(AP) We were offered a fight with Tommy to go to Detroit and we wouldn't go to Detroit. Duran, I just wanted to leave him alone! (laughs)
(SM) You retired young, at age twenty-nine, why?
(AP) Because I got knocked out by a former sparring partner and I think maybe the Lord was telling me something.
(SM) Since you retired from the ring, what have you been doing?
(AP) I messed around for a couple years. I then started working for the City of Los Angeles Recreation Department. I now work full-time for the Lincoln Park Recreation Center. I teach boxing fitness classes too.
(SM) Have you been involved in boxing in any other way?
(AP) Yes, my boxing program has followed me to every recreation center that I have participated in. I had a pro fighter named Dwain "Tiger" Williams awhile back too, trained and managed him. Things didn’t work out for him and I haven’t been involved since, kind of lost interest.
(SM) You still follow boxing today?
(AP) I watch all the fights on HBO, I keep up with all the big fights.
(SM) You are in the California Boxing Hall of Fame, aren’t you?
(AP) Yes, I went in March 6, 2004.
(SM) Do you think fighters today compare to your era?
(AP) Not even close. The group of welterweights when I was fighting was the best other than the Sugar Ray Robinson era. Guys like Sergio Mora, who's a great athlete, wouldn’t be in the top ten when I fought.
(SM) Andy, anything else you want to mention?
(AP) Nothing really, other than I love boxing and it will always be a big part of me.
Feel free to follow Murphy’s lead, and hit his favorite website, retiredboxers.com.
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?