Sports In Depth

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Last Wednesday, the "doctah" attended the screening of “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story.â€?  In viewing the film, I was especially, moved by it, because I know the people involved in it personally. And, in knowing the story, I am aware of the history behind it. So, if you would allow me -- I would like to take poetic license and add my own subtitle to 'Fire and Rain,' and call it: “Can One Man Ever Forget? - Will One Family Ever Forgive?â€?  After finally meeting Benny Paret Jr., one of the sons of the fighter that died after Griffith knocked him out, Emile knew he was forgiven. The son told Griffith that there were no hard feelings or malice toward him from either his mother, family or himself. Now forgiven, one knows neither Emile, or the world will ever forget.  “Ring of Fireâ€? validates that.
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Boxing genius
Marion Boykin, host of the legendary and most renowned cable boxing show ever, 'Boykin On Boxing' and the current host of his own show on the Rainbow Soul channel of “Sportsbox� on always states: “When a fighter kills another fighter in the ring, you lose both of them."

The core of the story lies in the tragedy that evolved in a trilogy between two of the games' elite fighters. Griffith won the welterweight championship defeating Benny "Kid" Paret, in Florida. Then fighting on his home turf at Madison Square Garden in New York, Griffith lost a fight that his corner thought he let get away. Along, with the defeat, went his welterweight championship. The blessing of knowing those in the know allows me to add this note. Griffith whose waist was a mere 26 inches, discovered his waist was too small to wear the belt when he won the title. "They had to put a boxing glove on the back for the belt for it to fit him," claimed Harold Weston Jr.  Weston, you may remember, won the Madison Square Garden welterweight world championship. He also was a fighter Sugar Ray Leonard avoided.

It is known by those within the game and by those who know the history of the game, that Griffith knocked out Paret to regain the welterweight title in their third and tragic battle.  After the fight, Paret lapsed into a coma and died days later. At the weight, prior to the bout, Paret had taunted Griffith calling him in Spanish a
“maricon,â€? a term used back then meaning ' faggot'.  Back in the day, people didn’t use the work homosexual as they do today.  This enraged Griffith and added fuel to the fire.  Paret had previously taken a savage beating in his prior fight. One which he not only lost but had increased in weight to do so. Middleweight champion, Gene Fullmer, who attended the screening has often remarked that the beating he administered to Paret was the worst he had ever inflicted on anyone.

Paret had some negatives haunting him, one among them was his money hungry inhuman manager, Manuel Alfaro. It is he whom Lucy Paret, the widow of Benny "Kid" Paret, blames for her husband’s death. Another factor I learned by watching this outstanding film is Paret didn't want to fight the fight. He was suffering from headaches as part of the aftermath of his bout with Fullmer. But his manager wouldn't stop the fight. Alfaro also remarked coldly after Paret’s death that now he would have to go out and find another boy."

Griffith, like Boykin states, was never the same fighter after Paret's death. He did win another world title and beat some outstanding fighters. In fact, Griffith was a three-time world champion in three different weight classes. He was the first man ever to win the junior middleweight championship.  He won the title in Venice, Italy against Ted Wright.

“Ring of Fire� is a must see film for fight fans, historians and sports fans in general.

Emile Griffith asked his wife to marry him the very first time he met her on their very first date . He was a Golden Gloves and National AAU champion, as well as a winner of the 'â€?Boxer of The Yearâ€? Award awarded  by the Boxing writers association. A three-time champion, Griffith had over 100 pro bouts.  A more tragic moment in his life was when he was severely beaten and left at deaths door while out at a club one night. By the grave of
GOD he survived. I can hear Gloria Gaynor singing somewhere "I Will Survive."   That reminds me also that the music in the film was great.  Also, I enjoyed seeing the vintage old black and white footage.

A special thanks to Ms. Veronica Buenrostro, Project manage, of,for her aid and professionalism in aiding the
Black Star News. Thank you once again and GOD bless.

Are the Mets doing it or what? In six home engagements they had 3 sellouts already. Manager Willie Randolph has his club running, stealing and never giving up. The Mets can come from behind, but the bullpen has got to do better. “Hey, Willie, I know the season is just beginning and it is early but!  On Opening day, three Marines threw out the first ball. Do you want to know whose idea that was?  It was the idea of another Marine.  The greatest right-handed hurler of his time(And maybe all-times) Tom Seaver. There's another reason to call him terrific! Here's a salute to all our Armed forces heroes.

It seems the Yankees can't catch a break. It’s still early in the season, and they are 4-8 yet the papers are acting like they are 10 games out of first and it is mid September. The Boss can always blow off steam after all, it's his team. Then, when the Yankees scored 19 runs against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the cry is - they should beat up on the Devil Rays. Must be – Your damned if you do and  damned if you don't!  Class acts those Yankees! Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre made classy remarks at the Red sox ring ceremony. Then, how about Alex Rodriguez, saving the little boy from getting hit or killed by a car and simply playing it off. 

On April 22nd, the Negro League Players were saluted at Shea Stadium. Director of promotions, James Plummer, had his crew back out at Shea. Bob Scott, Jim Robinson, Armando Vasquez to name a few. Lost over the years, are the likes of Max Manning, Bo Wallace and Charley Bioet. It was at Shea Stadium I met the great Buck Leonard.

Speaking of Legends, Frank Robinson is doing some job with the Washington club. I know it's early. Robinson was responsible for the discovery of Dennis Erkersley who just last year was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

DID U KNOW?: Sugar Ray Robinson also killed a fighter in the ring? He remarked after that tragic incident, that from then on he only fought good enough to win. Hank Aaron NEVER hit 50 home runs in a season. Barry Bonds has only struck out 100 times once in his career
. And last year, he hit more home runs (45) than times he struck out(44). Bonds also had a record shattering 232 walks, 120 were intentional.<o:p></o:p>

Trust*In*GOD*. <o:p></o:p>

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