Former professional boxer Emile Griffith died today in Hempstead, New York. He was 75. In 2005, Griffith acknowledged that he dated both men and women, though he avoided labels like "gay" and "homosexual." In 2008, he seemed to come out as gay, though saying previously he preferred women over men.
Griffith was best-known for knocking out Benny Paret in a 1962 nationally televised fight at Madison Square Garden. Paret never regained conciousness and died from the onslaught. It was later revealed that Paret had called Griffith a gay slur before the fight; That slur drove Griffith to an unrelenting barrage of punches that lead to Paret's death.
Griffith racked up a professional record of 85-24-2. He was the WBA and WBC welterweight champion throughout the Sixties.
His life is the subject of a new opera, "Champion," which debuted in St. Louis last month.