MSG Network will honor legendary fighter Emile Griffith, who sadly passed away last week, by presenting Dan Klores’ critically acclaimed film Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story, on Friday, August 2 at 10:00 p.m. The film chronicles the life of Griffith, the six-time world boxing champion who fought an amazing 28 times at Madison Square Garden, including the controversial 1962 bout that resulted in the death of champion Benny “the Kid” Paret.
“Emile Griffith was courageous both in and out of the boxing ring, and fought more championship rounds at Madison Square Garden than any fighter in history,” said Daniel Ronayne, executive vice president and general manager, MSG Networks. “With his unfortunate passing last week, we are honored to bring this special film to our viewers.”
“Emile had a joy and a thirst for life and he lived in a profoundly secret world in which he had to hide not merely love but pain too,” said Klores. “He was as great a world champion as Sugar Ray Leonard, Hearns, Duran, and Basilio, but it was the ‘image’ of that night on network TV, of Benny Paret slowly falling to the Garden mat, beaten to death, which stayed with me since I was a 12-year-old boy that led Ron Berger, Lewis Katz and myself to make this film. What is especially noteworthy about the timing of this showing on MSG is, of course, the recent discussion about homosexuality in sport, spurred by NBA player Jason Collins.”
Ring of Fire is a moving story of love, violence and redemption that documents the life of Griffith. Not only did the tragic bout at The Garden have a lasting impact on the sport, it polarized the media, created political debate and left lives shattered in the balance. Ring of Fire explores the events of Griffith’s life through compelling archival footage, interviews with champion boxers, journalists, historians and most movingly, through the reactions of members from both families. The film includes interviews with Paret’s wife and son, as well as noted journalists, boxers, trainers and managers, including: Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Neal Gabler, Jack Newfield, Charles Kaiser, Carmen Basilio, Jose Torres, Gene Fullmer, Juan LaPorte, Gil Clancy and Howie Albert.