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Former welterweight world champion Emile Griffith died this morning, at the age of 75, according to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Griffith went 85-24-1 in his career, and won world titles in multiple weight classes, but is best remembered for a flurry of punches that killed Benny Paret in the 1962 title bout embedded above, long one of boxing's most legendary fights.


It was widely reported that Paret called Griffith "maricón"—Spanish for "faggot"—prior to the fight. Griffith would be haunted by Paret's death for the rest of his career:

"After Paret," he'll admit years later, "I never wanted to hurt a guy again. I was so scared to hit someone. I was always holding back."


In 2005—and in advance of a documentary on his life, Ring of Fire, that is embedded below—Griffith, dogged by rumors of homosexuality throughout his career, told Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith "I've chased men and women. I like men and women both. But I don't like that word: homosexual, gay or faggot. I don't know what I am. I love men and women the same, but if you ask me which is better ... I like women." Griffith later came out as gay in the 2008 book Nine, Ten, and Out! The Two Worlds of Emile Griffith.

[International Boxing Hall of Fame]

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