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Emile Griffith
Birth: Feb. 3, 1938
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Death: Jul. 23, 2013
Hempstead (Nassau County)
Nassau County
New York, USA

Hall of Fame Professional Boxer. A respected welterweight and middleweight champion who had a long career, he is unfortunately remembered for killing Benny "Kid" Paret on live television in a 1962 bout. Born Emile Alphonse Griffith, he was raised in New York City and was working in a hat factory when the owner noted that he had a good physique and took him to a gym run by highly-regarded trainer Gil Clancy in Queens. After capturing a 1958 Golden Gloves tournament he turned professional that same year and won his first 13 bouts, all in New York. Griffith fought frequently and faced ever-tougher opponents before getting a welterweight title shot against Cuban Benny "Kid" Paret on April 1, 1961. He took the championship with a 13th round knockout but lost it back on September 30th of that year on a controversial decision. In December of 1961, Paret was knocked out while attempting to wrest the middleweight crown from Gene Fullmer and may have still been feeling the effects of that defeat when he and Griffith met at Madison Square Garden on March 24, 1962; at the weigh-in Paret called Griffith a "maricon", a pejorative Spanish term that roughly translates to "fag", and animosity was high as the fight started. In the 11th round Paret remained upright as his head and upper body went thru the ropes and Griffith pounded his head against the ring post. When referee Ruby Goldstein finally stopped the match, Paret slid to the floor; carried from the ring, he died 10 days later without regaining consciousness. There was plenty of blame to go around, against Griffith for hitting a man that some felt he should have perceived to be helpless, against Goldstein for not stepping-in sooner, and against Paret's handlers for not throwing in the towel and for allowing him to fight too soon after the loss to Fullmer. In the aftermath, investigations were held, boxing disappeared from ABC for several years, Goldstein retired, rings were provided with better padding and with four ropes instead of three, six ounce gloves were done away with, and Griffith was never the same. He continued fighting and often winning, even earning "Ring" magazine Fighter of the Year honors for 1964, but his style was thereafter more scientific and less aggressive. Griffith moved up to the middleweight division, lost to "Hurricane" Carter by a first round knockout in Pittsburgh on December 20, 1963, took the crown from Dick Tiger by decision at Madison Square Garden on February 3, 1966, traded the title back-and-forth with Nino Benvenuti in three matches held in 1967 and 1968, and twice lost to legendary middleweight king Carlos Monzon. Neither the first nor the last athlete to stay too long, he lost 14 of his final 23 matches including the last three and quit after dropping a decision to future champion Alan Minter on July 30, 1977, his lifetime record totaling 85 wins with 23 by knockout, 24 losses, and 2 draws. In later years he worked as a Secaucus, New Jersey, corrections officer and was a sought-after trainer, numbering Wilfred Benitez and Juan Laporte among his charges. Griffith was named to the World Boxing and International Boxing Halls of Fame in 1990, was portrayed, briefly, by Terry Claybon in the 1999 movie "The Hurricane", and was profiled in the 2005 documentary "Ring of Fire" in which he meets with Paret's son at the end. An opera based on his life entitles "Champion" was premiered by Opera Theater of St. Louis on June 15, 2013, and today a public park in the US Virgin Islands carries his name. Griffith suffered from dementia pugilistica and lived out his days in a nursing facility where he died of respiratory problems. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Saint Michaels Cemetery
East Elmhurst
Queens County
New York, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: David Peltier
Record added: Jul 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 114269611
Emile Griffith
Added by: Ruggero
 
Emile Griffith
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Betty Patterson
 
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- bob tarte
 Added: Jul. 23, 2014

- Jackie Howard
 Added: Feb. 3, 2014
You were a champion in and out of the ring
- florida boy 64
 Added: Dec. 27, 2013
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