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Benny Paret
Real name Bernardo Paret
Nickname(s) Kid
Rated at Welterweight
Nationality Cuba Cuban
Birth date March 14, 1937(1937-03-14)
Birth place Santa Clara, Cuba
Death date April 3, 1962 (aged 25)
Death place New York City,New York
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 50
Wins 35
Wins by KO 33
Losses 12
Draws 3

Benny "Kid" Paret, born Bernardo Paret (March 14, 1937 - April 3, 1962), born in Santa Clara, Cuba, was a Cuban welterweight boxer.


Boxing career

Paret won the welterweight title for the first time in 1960, but lost it seven months later when Emile Griffith knocked him out.[1] However, half a year later, Paret defeated Griffith when he captured a split decision over Griffith to recapture the crown.[2]

He also attempted to win the middleweight title against Gene Fullmer, but was knocked out again. [1]

Paret had a lifetime record of 35 wins (11 knockouts), 12 losses and 3 draws.[3]

Last Fight

His third fight against Emile Griffith occurred on March 24, 1962 at Madison Square Garden and was televised live by NBC. In round six Paret nearly knocked out Griffith with a multi punch combination but Griffith was saved by the bell.[4] In the twelfth round of the fight, Griffith hit Paret twenty-nine times in a row, and eighteen times in six seconds, when Paret was lying against the ropes[5] before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight.[6] Paret went into a coma after the fight, and died ten days later.[4]

The last fight was the subject of controversies. It is theorized that one of the reasons Paret died was that he was vulnerable due to the beatings he took in his previous three fights. New York State boxing authorities were criticized for giving Paret clearance to fight just several months after he was knocked out by Gene Fullmer in his second to last bout. The actions of Paret at the weigh in before his final fight have come under scrutiny. It is alleged that Paret taunted Griffith by calling him Maricón (Cuban slang for "Faggot").[5] Griffith wanted to fight Paret on the spot but was restrained. Allegations of homosexuality in 1962 were considered fatal to an athlete's career and a particularly grievous insult in the culture both fighters came from. The referee Ruby Goldstein, a respected veteran, came under criticism for not stopping the fight sooner. It has been argued that Goldstein hesitated because of Paret’s reputation of feigning injury and Griffith’s reputation as a poor finisher.[4][6] Another theory is that Goldstein was afraid that Paret’s supporters would riot.[6] The incident would cause debate as to whether boxing should be considered a sport. Boxing would not be televised on a regular basis until the 1970’s.[7]

The fight was the centerpiece of a 2005 documentary entitled Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story. At the end of the documentary Griffith who has harbored guilt over the incident over the years is introduced to Paret's son. The son embraced Griffith and told him he was forgiven.[7]

In popular culture

Paret is one of many boxers named in the lyrics of Sun Kil Moon's album Ghosts Of The Great Highway. The album builds several songs around the stories of boxers who died young deaths.[8]


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Don Jordan
World Welterweight Champion
27 May 1960– 1 Apr 1961
Succeeded by
Emile Griffith
Preceded by
Emile Griffith
World Welterweight Champion
30 Sep 1961– 24 Mar 1962
Succeeded by
Emile Griffith

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