A Man’s World

On 24 March 1962, when Emile Griffith stepped into the ring in Madison Square Garden to defend his world title against Benny Paret, he was filled with rage. Paret had denounced Griffith as a ‘faggot’. The insinuation could have had dangerous consequences – especially as it was true.

Griffith pounded Paret into unconsciousness, and later the Cuban died, leaving Griffith haunted by remorse. Despite this, he went on to fight more world championship rounds than any other fighter in history in a career of almost 20 years. Donald McRae weaves a compelling tale of triumph over prejudice – Griffith was black, so doubly damned by contemporary society, but refused to cower away.