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The Ring Magazine Championship Belt
Presented to Emile Griffith after defeating Dick Tiger in 1966!
While still holding the Welterweight Championship Emile Griffith, weighing in at 150 1/2 Lbs., wins the Middleweight Crown via a unanimous decision over the Champion Dick Tiger.
This section is dedicated to a SIX-TIME WORLD CHAMPION. A man who fought his way to the top of his game, meeting all challengers and contenders en route to becoming one of boxings' elite; a TRUE multi-champion.
EMILE GRIFFITH; A Friend To Boxing
New York City's adopted son honed his craft at St. Nicks Arena and became a fixture at Madison Square Garden fighting more main events in the Garden than any other headliner in history. Turning pro in 1958, he went on to simultaneously hold both the World Welterweight and Middleweight crown in 1966. Unknown to most, Emile Alphonse Griffith holds one of boxings' unbreakable records. He has fought more title fight rounds (339) than any other world champion in history. This includes all-time greats Abe Attell (337), Sugar Ray Robinson (288) and Muhammad Ali (270).
The bible of boxing magazines "The RING" (no affiliation with this website) has included Emile Griffith in their pages many times throughout his career and he still makes appearances from time to time. But his first "guestshot" in this prestigious periodical occurred in the August 1958 issue. Hidden away on page 32 in "Seen & Heard in N.Y." is the following line referring to his pro debut at St. Nicholas Arena on June 2, 1958; "The 1958 National Golden Gloves welterweight champion, Emile Griffith, 157, West Side, celebrated his professional debut by out-pointing Joe Parham, 162, Paterson N.J. in the opening four." Those weights as quoted are incorrect, but does any one reading this know what became of Joe Parham? Also, worth mentioning is that a future 2X challenger for Emile's middleweight crown also fought that night winning his 15th straight bout. That's right, Joey Archer of the Bronx! He played second fiddle to his main event brother Jimmy (who lost).
Two Golden Gloves programs from Emile's amateur career. At left is the New York Golden Gloves finals of 1957 where Emile, boxing out of the West 28th St. parks Dept., was outpointed in the novice division by Charles Wormley of Salem Crescent AC. Below is the Eastern Championships of 1958, where Emile prevailed in the open division. Emile is pictured in and has graciously autographed both.
Griffith becomes the first man to put all-time great Dick Tiger on the canvas on the way to becoming the World's Middleweight Champ, April 25, 1966 at MSG in NYC.
Born 2/3/1938 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Griffith moved to New York City at the young age of 14. After winning the New York Golden Gloves titles in 1957-58 and the Eastern Regional and Inter-City Golden Gloves in 1958, his career long-handlers; Howie Albert and Gil Clancy turned him pro at the age of 20. Outstanding photo, boldly signed by all.
Emile Griffith decisions Ernie "Red" Lopez in 10 rounds, March 30, 1972, Los Angeles.
Griffith was the consummate boxer who combined speed, aggressiveness, determination and occasional power with superb defensive prowess and incredible stamina. A welterweight with the shoulders of a light heavy, Griffith moved around the ring with the grace of a gazelle.
Well disciplined by Clancy in all facets of boxing fundamentals, Griffith had the uncanny ability to maneuver his opponent into a "cornering" position where he would employ hooks to the body and head followed by a formidable right hand.
Griffith beats Gasper Ortega in 10 rounds at Madison Square Garden, February 12, 1960.
Griffith, while snapping his double jab, with defensive guard always apparent together with his lateral movement, was a difficult target for any and all opponents.
Always, a likeable fan favorite and well respected by the press, Griffith would often break the ice with reporters by chanting "phrases of the day" with his melodic island voice, followed by an ear-to-ear smile.
This was never more apparent than on the evening of December 20, 1963 in Pittsburgh, PA. He hadn't lost his welterweight crown, since he'd fought Rubin "Hurricane" Carter over the class limit of 147 lbs, yet shock and dismay were on the faces of the reporters that hovered nearby. Emile had been KO'd in the first round. Seated on the rub-down table, Griffith sensed the vacuum. A big smile cracked his features as he said: "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU". With that greeting, laughter ensued and the press soon had their story for the late city editions.
In 1963, Griffith was outstanding over the long haul and when the Boxing Writers Association met in the first weeks of December, he was their unanimous choice as Fighter of the Year. However, how does one pull off the acceptance speech at the ceremony in January, after being stretched two weeks earlier. Leave it to Griffith. At the appropriate juncture, attired in black tux, Emile gracefully reached the podium; "Gentlemen, I started to come here over a month ago, but a funny thing happened on the way, I stopped in Pittsburgh...(pause and huge grin) and I really mean, I stopped, COLD. Maybe, I should have stayed there, after what I did to you after selecting me. But gentlemen, I had a round trip ticket. I couldn't let it go to waste."
There is one thing about this V-shaped man who possessed the ability to destroy other men with his fists. He always had humor and fun within him, no matter what happened. He carried his heavy burdens with a light heart and a competitive distinction.
During the 1959 licensing period, Griffith would rise through the welterweight ranks by beating such contenders as Gasper Ortega, Denny Moyer, Jorge Fernandez and Florentino Fernandez.
It was during the 1960 licensing period that Griffith would earn his spot as the number one challenger by beating Luis Rodriguez. He would go on to win the World Welterweight Championship for the first time (4/1/1961) by knocking out Benny "Kid" Paret in the 13th round in Miami. He successfully defended against Gasper Ortega in L.A. before losing to Paret at MSG on September 30, 1961.
On April 1, 1961, at the Miami Beach Convention Hall Emile Griffith received his chance at fame and fortune: a shot at the World Welterweight Championship held by Benny "Kid" Paret. He showed he was nobody's April Fool! In a hard fought battle, Emile reached down deep and in the 13th round caught the champion with a tremendous left followed up by a thundering right cross. Paret went down and was counted out. Emile Griffith was the Welterweight Champion Of The World. The official program to this historic bout. Graciously signed by Emile.
This is an original full ticket to this historic bout. The ticket has been graciously signed by Emile.
An original ticket stub to this historic bout.
Paret hits the canvas on April 1, 1961 at the Miami Beach Convention Hall and kisses his World Welterweight title goodbye. At left is an outstanding original wire photo capturing the dramatic finish. Emile seriously hurts Paret with a powerful left hook and immediately follows with a right hand.
Incredibly Clear Original Wire Photo -
No Longer Available!
No Longer Available!
EMILE GRIFFITH BRONZED FIGHT WORN GLOVE from his April 1, 1961 Welterweight Championship fight. Obtained many years ago direct from Emile. Serious offers invited.
Bronzed and mounted by Gil and Howie after Emile wins the Welterweight Title. The brass plate reads:
"This glove worn by Emile Griffith when winning the World's Welterweight Championship by a K.O. over Benny Kid Paret 13th Round, April 1, 1961 Managed by Gil Clancy and Howard Albert"
Also included with the bronzed fight worn glove is this plaque presented to Emile as Welterweight Champion in April 1962. Also obtained many years ago direct from Emile, it reads:
"Presented to Emil (sic) Griffith, Welterweight Champion of the World, In honor of his outstanding performance in the boxing world and his relentless effort in guiding the youth of America to achieve good health, sportsmanship and moral integrity. Chris Jackman Ass'n April 1962
Emile appeared on the June 1, 1961 cover of Jet Magazine as "A Designing Champion". Emile has comically autographed this cover as "Emile Griffith, The Hat Man". Hard to locate piece on Emile.
EMILE IS ON TOP OF THE WORLD and JUMPING FOR JOY!
Emile's always felt at home in the gym. Much of his active boxing career was spent there training before and after his many bouts. Now retired he still spends much of his time in and around the boxing gyms of New York instructing the next generation.
The Triumphant Warrior Returns Home...
Emile receives the Virgin Islands Medal of Honor. They also named a baseball stadium after him.
Emile experienced a tough upbringing as a child in the Virgin Islands. Throughout his career and to this very day he always has time for children.
Quiet time at home.
Emile has signed this original "tale of the tape" press photo from the March 1965 successful defense of his World Welterweight Championship against tough Jose Stable.
GRIFFITH, the 60's man who restored interest and validity in the welterweight division, lifted New York boxing out of the mob-dominated 50's and put the spotlight back on Madison Square Garden as much, if not more, than any boxer in history.
Griffith and Gasper Ortega attend a boxing luncheon combined with a hat fashion show at Gilhuly's Restaurant in NY, 2/8/1960. Griffith once worked as a stock clerk in Howie Albert's millinery shop.
THE GRIFFITH-RODRIGUEZ SAGA
55 ROUNDS or "getting to know you..."
Luis Rodriguez and Griffith show some in-fighting during their 15 round battle for Griffith's welterweight title in Dodger Stadium, March 21, 1963.
GRIFFITH, in one of the most popular RING magazine covers, is shown in close combat with arch-rival the great Luis Rodriguez.
Griffith and Rodriguez met for the fourth and final time on June 12, 1964 in Las Vegas. Emile successfully defended his World Welterweight Championship with a unanimous 15 round decision over the talented Rodriguez.
This was also the final curtain for MSG's nationally televised Gillette boxing championship series.
This outing, the fourth and final meeting of these closely matched warriors, saw Griffith win a unanimous but close decision. All of their bouts (3 of which were title bouts) were tightly contested, with Rodriguez winning their second meeting (and the title) in L.A. via decision.
It's a good time to point out that Griffith's most stellar performances were always when fighting to gain the championship, rather than when defending it.
Immediately, following this win, Griffith was calling for a shot at Giardello and the middleweight crown (that would not occur until two years later against Giardello conqueror, the legendary Dick Tiger). Griffith received $50,000 and Rodriguez earned $21,000.
The champion fought with driving force in the trenches, attacking frequently to the body
This fight was the roughest of the four fights, with much infighting leading to many infractions of the rules. An accidental head butt in the second round opened up a cut over Luis's left eye, but excellent corner work by his manager, Angelo Dundee kept the damage in check. Rodriguez never backed away, but Emile tallied up an early lead by landing the better more effective punches and by displaying a cute rolling defense. Griffith jabbed often, went to the body with the more effective blows and peppered the Luis's right eye with lefts. The referee penalized Rodriguez one point in the third round for a low blow, of which there were many.
Rodriguez was at his best in the seventh and eight rounds, but found Emile able to withstand his onslaught of body shots. Griffith was guilty of holding and hitting several times in the tenth, but was not penalized. The eleventh saw the champ land two big left hooks to Luis's head. There was action after the bell, in the twelfth when neither man heard the gong and Emile let go a left hook to the head before the ref could step between them.
Griffith landed the best punch of the fight in the fourteenth, when he jolted Luis back with a hard left hook to the jaw. Rodriguez showed a formidable attack in the final round, but it was too little too late.
Once again, Griffith showed his all around boxing talent (this time by withstanding the challengers predominate mid-section attack) and emerged victorious.
A Look Back At Emile Alphonse Griffith Through Some Original Early On-Site Fight Posters
Original on-site fight posters are the premier boxing memorabilia collectible. This style of advertisement of an upcoming prizefight at the local neighborhood venue, is a a relic of times past. It is the closest physical evidence we have to experiencing the era of the actual fight itself, while treating it as memorabilia. The event itself, the hype if you will, is of course why we have the sporting interest in the first place...
The following are cardboard and measure 28 inches by 22 inches. They are all for sale. Please contact Irish Johnny Griffin for details. Thanks.
October 6, 1958 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Artie Cunningham. Emile's 4th pro fight - His first 6 rounder - Winner by decision. My earliest Griffith poster!
November 17, 1958 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Sergio Rios. Emile's 5th pro fight - Winner by KO round 3. Emile Griffith's first KO win as a professional prizefighter.
December 15, 1958 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Larry Jones. Griffith by 5th round KO. Check out the headliners!
January 26, 1959 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Gaylord Barnes. Griff via KO round 5.
February 23, 1959 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Barry Allison. Emile Griffith's first 10 rounder - a triple main event card. Emile KO's Allison in 5.
April 27, 1959 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. "Cowboy" Mel Barker. His 11th pro fight. This one might be Griffith's first poster photo. Billed as "Howard Albert's great young fighter". Emile Griffith wins via decision in 10.
May 25, 1959 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Willie "Pineapple" Stevenson. Griff by decision.
October 26, 1959 - The Academy of Music on 14th Street - vs. top contender Randy Sandy. Sandy decisions Griffith, resulting in his first loss and some big lessons.
November 23, 1959 - Griffith gets back on the horse and returns to The Academy of Music in a scheduled 8 rounder and KO's tough Ray Lancaster in 7. (SOLD)
January 8, 1960 - Madison Square Garden - vs. Roberto Pena (Bobby (sic) Dena). Griff decisions Pena.
June 3, 1960 - St. Nicholas Arena - vs. Jorge Fernandez. Griffith returns to St. Nicks and decisions the tough Jorge Fernandez in 10.
August 25, 1960 - Madison Square Garden - In a hugely anticipated showdown, Emile decisions KO artist Florentino Fernandez in 10.
October 22, 1960 - Madison Square Garden - vs. the highly respected Willie Toweel. Griffith KO's Willie in 8.
For more Emile Griffith original on-site fight posters check out our boxing posters page (click on the POSTERS tab in the index on the left).