I remember watching the “Friday Night Fights” on TV with my father and friends back in the early sixties, seeing Rubin “Hurricane” Carter as a top middleweight contender.
On April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday, Rubin passed away at the age of 76 after suffering from prostate cancer.
Rubin was nicknamed “Hurricane” because of his ferocity and punching power. He never achieved the title of world champion, but is always remembered for stopping two-division champion Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He fought for the middleweight title in 1964, losing a unanimous 15 round decision to Joey Giardello. Rubin had a professional ring record of 27 wins, 12 losses, and 1 draw with 19 knockouts.
My good friend, Harold Lederman (HBO World Championship Boxing), stated: “So sorry to hear of the death of Rubin Hurricane Carter. The Patterson New Jersey middleweight was one of the hardest punchers I ever saw.”
His boxing career came to an abrupt end when he was imprisoned for three 1966 murders committed at a tavern in Patterson, New Jersey. He was convicted in 1967, but was eventually freed in 1985 when his convictions were thrown out after years of appeals. He then became a prominent public advocate for the wrongfully convicted. He was an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired the 1975 Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” as well as a 1999 Hollywood film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Carter.
Rubin reminded me of one of my favorite boxers, Marvin Hagler; both were about the same size and middleweights at 160 pounds. Both featured shaved heads and intimidating styles in the ring, with tremendous knockout power.
His tireless fight outside the ring to ensure justice for all will forever be remembered … may his soul rest peacefully in heaven with God!