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Welterweight Emile Griffith Happy to Say Goodbye to 1962

Dec. 9, 1962 - Gloomy Emile Griffith, the haunted world welterweight champion, will not be unhappy to see 1962 come to an end. This has been a tragic year for the 23-year-old Virgin Islander from New York. It started with the death of Benny Paret following their title battle in March (pictured) and climaxed with his controversial ninth-round “foul TKO” over Jorge Fernandez in Saturday night’s nationally televised bout. “I didn’t want it to end that way,” Griffith said today. “Nothing seems to work out right. I did my best. I still think it was a clean punch.” Fair or foul, the verdict remains official. The Nevada Athletic Commission held a special meeting this morning to review the incident and came out with the same decision that was rendered at ringside. The commissioners and referee Harry Krause agreed it was a foul punch that ended the bout, but this can’t change the verdict. Fights cannot be lost on a low blow. “It was an unfortunate ending,” said commission chairman Jim Deskin, “but the rule is clear, and it’s in writing.”


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