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Sports film of the week: Ring of Fire — The Emile Griffith Story

This week’s documentary pick is an in-depth look at one of boxing’s darkest hours, the 1962 title fight between Emile Griffith and Benny “The Kid” Paret.

Emile Griffith, right, sends welterweight champion Benny
Emile Griffith, right, sends welterweight champion Benny "Kid" Paret of Cuba into the ropes just before the referee stopped their infamous world title fight.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Released: 2005

Director:  Dan Klores, Ron Berger

Tagline: Can one man ever forget? Will one family ever forgive?

The plot: An in-depth look at one of boxing’s darkest hours, Ring of Fire is the story of Emile Griffith and his infamous 1962 world title fight against Benny “The Kid” Paret.

The bad blood between the two welterweight rivals intensified in the build-up to their third fight when Paret taunted Griffith with a homosexual slur. Inside the ring, Griffith hit back with a brutal series of punches which knocked Paret unconscious before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Aged 25, the Cuban later died of his injuries, casting a tragic shadow over the sport and over Griffith’s life.

Through interviews with friends, family, colleagues and Griffith himself (now aged 74), Ring of Fire looks at Griffith’s life, the events of that New York night, and his search for closure and forgiveness.

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What the critics said: “Ring of Fire not only sheds a bit of light on one of boxing’s most infamous events, but it does so with plenty of style and class. Emile Griffith’s story of success, frustration, loneliness and redemption will strike a chord with any sports fan, no matter what year they were born in.” (Randy Miller III, DVDtalk)

Watch Ring of Fire below:

YouTube Credit: CelticPacman

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Niall Kelly

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