R.I.P. Boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter



TORONTO -- Rubin "Hurricane'' Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.

John Artis, a longtime friend and caregiver, said Carter died in his sleep Sunday. Carter had been stricken with prostate cancer in Toronto, the New Jersey native's adopted home.


[+] EnlargeRubin 'Hurricane' Carter
FPG/Getty ImagesRubin "Hurricane" Carter was 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts before being wrongfully convicted for murder in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985.


Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. He was convicted alongside Artis in 1967 and again in a new trial in 1976.

Carter was freed in November 1985 when his convictions were set aside after years of appeals and public advocacy. His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicized in Bob Dylan's 1975 song "Hurricane,'' several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing the boxer turned prisoner.

Carter's murder convictions abruptly ended the boxing career of a former petty criminal who became an undersized middleweight contender largely on ferocity and punching power.

Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

In June 1966, three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson. Carter and Artis were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.

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