Emile Griffith, the former world boxing champion whose career was overshadowed by the fatal beating he gave Bennie Paret in a 1962 title bout, died at 75 after a long battle with pugilistic dementia.
The boxer known for his fatal fight
The first boxer to become world champion from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Griffith required full-time treatment in life and died at a care facility in Hempstead, New York.
“Emile was a gifted athlete and truly a great boxer,” Hall of Fame director Ed Brophy said. “Outside the ring he was as great a gentleman as he was a fighter.”
An elegant boxer with a quick jab, Griffith’s career was overshadowed by the fatal fight in 1962. The result darkened the world of boxing, even prompting some TV station to stop showing live fights.
He had a successful career after that fatal fight, but Griffith admitted later in life that he was never the same fighter as before because he would fight merely to win, the kind of decision praised by purists.
His humor and generosity buoyed those close to him as his health deteriorated in later years. He would entertain fans young and old with tales of his fights, even though facts often became hazy, the result of the many blows he took during his career.