22.04.05 - By Jim Amato: I just had the absolute pleasure of viewing "Ring Of Fire"; A documentary on the great career of former world champion Emile Griffith. The main focus was the effect the death of opponent Benny "Kid" Paret in the final chapter of their exciting trilogy. In reality it was more then that. It showed what a great fighter and even greater man Emile Griffith was and is.. I think that it has been forgotten what a superb boxer Emile Griffith was. He was one of the best welterweights and middleweights of all time. His record is a "Who's Who" of boxing. What a roster of top shelf competition he met.
After watching this show I had to wonder how great Emile may have become. Even after the Paret tragedy Emile compiled an impressive list of titles and opponents. To me there is no doubt that Emile lost that "killer instinct" after the Paret incident. In watching the early part of the broadcast you came to realize that Emile never really had it at all. It had to be instilled in him. I honestly believe that never in Emile's wildest dreams could he see the gloom that awaited him. This is a man of honor and loyalty. The people that really know him like Gil Clancy, Howie Albert. his family, etc...They conveyed the the deep emotions and feelings of this proud but yet humble man.
The ending was fitting, emotional and finally a closing of a sad but real novel.. Hopefully the final chapter was read and finished. The book I hope is now closed. Paret's son and Emile have bared their souls to the world. I hope now that Emile feels absolved of any wrong doing and grief. He is too good of a man to feel otherwise.