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USA to air 'Ring of Fire' commercial-free

March 10, 2005 at 2:57 PM

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- USA Network will premiere "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" without commercial interruption, the New York-based cable channel said Thursday.

Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and SCI FI Channel, said SAAB Cars USA will be the presenting sponsor of USA Network's first-ever uninterrupted, commercial-free telecast April 20.

"Ring of Fire" is a documentary on the 1962 title fight in which welterweight boxing champion Griffith beat Benny "Kid" Paret unconscious on national TV at Madison Square Garden. Paret died 10 days after the bout.

Paret, a Cuban, had taunted Griffith, a native of the Virgin Islands, with the term "Maricon," a derogatory Spanish term for homosexual. Griffith was not prosecuted and fought for 15 more years -- winning six titles.

Fallout from Paret's death included calls for boxing to be banned and a reluctance on the part of broadcasters to televise bouts.

The film includes interviews with Paret's family members, as well as journalists Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Neal Gabler and the late Jack Newfield.

Daily Variety recently reported plans are under way in Hollywood to make a feature film based on "Ring of Fire."

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