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Emile Griffith Wins Disputed Decision at Madison Square Garden

June 9, 1963 - Emile Griffith last night became the first boxer to capture the welterweight title three times. But it was an achievement not universally applauded. A chorus of boos at Madison Square Garden greeted his defeat of the champion, Luis Rodriguez, by a split decision in the 15-round bout. Cries of “Robbery!” rang out as Griffith was having his picture taken in the ring after the fight. And when Emile left the ring, whistles and boos echoed after him as he made his way to the dressing room. In a ringside poll conducted by UPI, 17 writers voted for Rodriguez and 6 for Griffith. One called it a draw. It was Griffith’s eighth title bout. He first won the crown from the late Benny (Kid) Paret on a 13th-round knockout in Miami in April 1961. Paret regained the title at the Garden in September of that year, then Griffith took it back from Paret on March 24, 1962. Paret, knocked out in the 12th round, never regained consciousness and died 10 days later. Griffith defended the title successfully against Gaspar Ortega, Ralph Dupas, and Jorge Fernandez, then lost it to Rodriguez last March 21 in Los Angeles. That was a unanimous but a disputed decision. Most ringside reporters felt Griffith won that one. Last night, Griffith punched harder, but Rodriguez was the better and quicker boxer, and he landed the greater number of punches. But powerful punchers usually sway officials, so Griffith’s harder blows apparently swung things his way.

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