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Emile Griffith is Living a Nightmare

Mar. 26, 1962 - Welterweight champion Emile Griffith, two long days after his greatest triumph, is living in a nightmare. “They say, ‘How come a sweet little boy like you who designs hats can turn tiger and hurt a man’s brain,’” Griffith said today. “They’re trying to get me to say I wanted to kill Paret. All I wanted was to be champion again. I didn’t want to hurt him.” Griffith was encountered today in a little room on the third floor of the New York State Athletic Commission offices. Seven floors above, the commission was readying a report to Governor Rockefeller on the savage beating that Emile had given Benny (Kid) Paret in their title bout Saturday night. A crushing barrage in the twelfth knocked Paret unconscious. “I was so excited,” Griffith said. “All I could think about was regaining the title. Now I can’t sleep. And they won’t let me see him.” Griffith acknowledged that there had been hard feelings between him and Paret. A fight almost started between them at the weigh-in Saturday (pictured). “He made some bad remarks to me in Spanish,” Griffith said, “and then he patted me on the backside.” Griffith translated Paret’s remarks to mean “anti-man.” Griffith said: “I was afraid I’d hit him right there. ‘Don’t touch me, Paret,’ I said. But when I got in the ring, I forgot all about it. Maybe he did that so I would lose my head in the ring.” Howard Cosell of ABC asked Griffith if he was sorry he had become a boxer. “Yes,” he replied, “I am sorry.”

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