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Hurricane Carter KO’s Emile Griffith in Non-Title Fight

Dec. 21, 1963 - Rubin (Hurricane) Carter twice smashed welterweight champion Emile Griffith to the canvas last night and scored a startling first-round technical knockout. The crowd of 5,436 in Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena seemed stunned by the abrupt ending to the non-title fight, then it burst into cheers for the victor. Carter, No. 2-ranked middleweight contender, floored Griffith with a vicious left hook shortly after the two fighters had broken from a clinch. Griffith beat the count but was obviously hurt. He put both hands to his head before Referee Buck McTiernan waved Carter in again. Carter moved in swiftly and raked the champion with a series of lefts and rights to the head, sending him to the canvas for the second time. Griffith managed once again to get to his feet, but McTiernan ruled he was unable to continue and awarded the fight to Carter at 2:13 of the first round. Carter weighed 155, Griffith 151½. It was the first time the New Yorker by way of the Virgin Islands had been knocked out. Griffith’s record now is 38-5. Carter’s record is 18-4, including 12 knockouts. After tonight’s bout, Carter said: “They ain’t got no business putting any welterweights in there with me. I told you that before. I want a shot at Joey Giardello’s middleweight title now. But he’s probably scared of me and won’t give me the shot even though I’m a top contender.” Griffith declared: “I got a bad deal, but maybe the referee thought he was doing his job right. Carter hit me on top of my head, and the referee didn’t take no chance. This isn’t going to get me discouraged. I’m still going to fight middleweights.” McTiernan disagreed, stating: “I gave Griffith a break the first time he was down, and I certainly did him a favor stopping it when I did. He might have been badly hurt if I had let it go on.”


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