By James Slater
Legendary 1960’s middleweight contender Ruben “Hurricane” Carter today passed away at the age of 76. Carter, who was famously and wrongfully imprisoned for a 1966 triple murder, lost his battle with prostate cancer. He was a fine fighter and he scored his biggest win in 1963, when he stopped past and future world champion Emile Griffith in the very first round of a non-title clash.
Carter’s career was suddenly curtailed due to the wrongful imprisonment, a sentence that saw him serve almost twenty years. Becoming a writer whilst in jail fighting for his freedom, Carter penned his autobiography entitled: “The 16th-Round – from number-one contender to number 45472.”
By the 1970’s the injustice Carter had suffered had become big news and hugely influential world figures such as fellow boxing legend Muhammad Ali and singer/songwriter Bob Dylan came to Carter’s assistance. Dylan wrote the 1975 classic “Hurricane” which became a massive hit, one that effectively and powerfully told the Carter wrongful arrest story in over ten minutes of brilliantly written lyrics and music.
Later still, Carter’s life story was made into a hit movie starring Denzel Washington.
As a pro, Carter boxed from 1961 to 1966. Aside from the Griffith win, Carter also fought: Joey Archer, Jimmy Ellis, George Benton, Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Dick Tiger and, in his sole world title shot, Joey Giardello – a 15-round UD loss.
Carter passed away in Toronto, Ontario.