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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

'Maricón' — Former Homosexual Boxing Champion Emile Griffith Dies at 75

Well, Griffith literally beat the shit out of Benny Paret, who allegedly slurred him as "maricón," a Spanish gay-bashing epithet.

At the New York Times, "Emile Griffith, Boxer Who Unleashed a Fatal Barrage, Dies at 75":

It was the night of March 24, 1962, a nationally televised welterweight title fight at Madison Square Garden between Emile Griffith and Benny Paret, known as Kid. Griffith was seeking to recapture the crown he had once taken from Paret and then lost back to him.

But this was more than a third encounter for a boxing title. A different kind of tension hung in the Garden air, fed by whispered rumors and an open taunt by Paret, a brash Cuban who at the weigh-in had referred to Griffith as gay, using the Spanish epithet “maricón.”

Fighters squaring off always challenge each other’s boxing prowess, but in the macho world of the ring, and in the taboo-laden world of 1962, Paret had made it personal, challenging Griffith’s manhood.

On a Saturday night about 7,500 fans — not a bad crowd for a televised bout in those years — had trooped to the Garden, then at Eighth Avenue and 49th Street, to watch the fight through a haze of cigarette and cigar smoke. By the 12th round of a scheduled 15, Griffith and Paret were still standing. But in the 12th, Griffith pinned Paret into a corner and let fly a whirlwind of blows to the head.

“The right hand whipping like a piston rod which has broken through the crankcase, or like a baseball bat demolishing a pumpkin,” Norman Mailer, a ringside witness, recalled in an essay.

Griffith delivered 17 punches in five seconds with no response from Paret, according to Griffith’s trainer, Gil Clancy, who counted them up from television replays. Griffith may have punched Paret at least two dozen times in that salvo.

At last the referee stepped in, and Paret collapsed with blood clots in his brain.

“I hope he isn’t hurt,” Griffith was quoted saying in his dressing room afterward. “I pray to God — I say from my heart — he’s all right.”

Paret died 10 days later at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan.
Continue reading.

Also at the Los Angeles Times, "Emile Griffith dies; fatally beat opponent after gay slur."

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