James Pritchard, (born April 28, 1961 in Louisville, Kentucky), was a heavyweight professional boxer who won the USBA heavyweight title and challenged for the IBF world title.
Pritchard had a stellar amateur career, becoming the 1985 National Golden Gloves Super Heavyweight Champion.
Pritchard turned pro in 1985 and went undefeated in 17 bouts, including a draw with Mike 'The Bounty' Hunter, before facing ex-world heavyweight champion Mike Weaver in a crossroads fight. Pritchard was stopped by the big punching Weaver on his feet in six, but returned to win three fights in a row before meeting another former world champion, this time Michael Dokes. Pritchard was stopped in seven, but gained a reputation for toughness as Dokes, like Weaver, could not drop Pritchard.
Pritchard travelled to apartheid South Africa for several fights, boxing to a controversial draw with Johnny DuPlooy when he had apparently got the better of DuPlooy. He was stopped in 10 in a rematch, then stopped in eight by DuPlooy's rival Pierre Coetzer. Pritchard returned to the States where he was a chief sparring partner of Frank Bruno prior to his Tyson fight. He also put together a string of wins including a kayo of novice Lionel Butler. A trip to England to face world ranked Gary Mason resulted in a 9th rd stoppage loss, although yet again Pritchard gained respect for his durability - no one could knock him down.
Having been relegated to opponent status in the heavyweights, the 26-5-2 Pritchard moved down to the Cruiserweight division. He beat two-time world title challenger Siza Makathini in his debut winning an IBF Intercontinental title, but in his 1991 fight with James Warring for the vacant IBF world cruiserweight title he was dropped for the first time in his career and stopped in 36 seconds, a record for a world title fight.
Pritchard returned to the heavyweights after his cruiserweight title disaster, but was relegated to journeyman status. He knocked out undefeated West Turner to win the USBA heavyweight title, but lost to the likes of Tim Witherspoon, Orlin Norris, Michael Moorer and Herbie Hide.
By the mid to late 90's he was an aged heavyweight and not much more than cannon fodder for Corrie Sanders, Brian Nielsen and Wladimir Klitschko. He retired in 1997 with a respectable record of 30-18-2 (25 KO's).
Pritchard has been imprisoned on two separate occasions in the Kentucky state prison system, both times for robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years in 1982, paroled the following year, and released from parole in 1991. He was sentenced to 20 years in 2003 and released on parole in 2009. As of January 5, 2012 he was back in jail for parole violations following a guilty plea to a theft case to which a relative, Glenn Pritchard, was a co-defendant.