"Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" is documentary film-making at its best. This lean, ninety-minute program presents a compelling human drama, as well as a thoughtful meditation on the sport of boxing.
I was age 12 at the time of the tragic ring death of Benny "The Kid" Paret, and I can still vividly recall the graphic images and descriptions in the newspapers in 1962. But it was not until the year 2005 and this powerful documentary film that I learned that Emile Griffith is a decent man who was often vilified in the media. This film helps to set the record straight about the tragic death of Paret and the exceptional character of Emile Griffith. The most moving scene in the film is when, many years after the fight, Griffith meets Benny Paret's son and asks for his forgiveness.
With the passing of over forty years since Paret's death, it is surprising that the "sport" of boxing continues to titillate fans. At least there are no longer the grueling fifteen round bouts, and today the referees will step in to end a fight sooner than in past eras of boxing.
"Ring of Fire" is brilliant in allowing the documentary film footage of the Griffth-Paret fight to speak for itself, thus allowing the viewers to draw their own conclusions about the entertainment values of boxing.
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