The Story of Rubin ‘The Hurricane’ Carter
By Simon Graham
When I was on my apprenticeship I got friendly with a paint and decorator apprentice, amongst many things we would discuss music in great depth, during one of these discussions he urged me to pick up a copy of Bob Dylan’s Desire album he was adamant I’d like it and get turned on to the musical genius that is Dylan’s work …… he was correct, I became a fan.
On the Album was a song called ‘The Hurricane’ Dylan is known for his profound way of telling stories in his own unique way so for many years I thought the song was just that, a story.
It wasn’t until 1999 that I actually made the connection, Rubin Carter was in fact a real life boxer, the connection being made while watching Denzel Washington in the movie The Hurricane, as soon as the Dylan song came into the movie I was destined to read Carters book, which I did.
Carters chequered past, and subsequent incarceration for a murder he didn’t commit is immortalised in the book, the song and the movie however the average person might not necessarily know, he was not just an ordinary boxer that was unjustly tried in a court, he was a middleweight contender fighting but ultimately losing on points to Joey Giardiello for the WBA and WBC championship.
At 5 ft 8 in, stocky and muscular Carter was shorter than the average middleweight but his aggressive attitude made him a crowd favourite, many of Carter’s fight would end early due to his punching power and after beating top contenders like Florentino Fernandez, Holley Mims, Gomeo Brennan, the world took notice as Ring Magazine ranked him in their top five of middleweight contenders.
Carter’s crushing first round TKO win over future champion Emile Griffith earned him the shot at the title held by Giardiello on December 14th, 1964.
The fight took place at the Convention Hall, Philadelphia, like a bull Carter charged at and chased the champion around the ring, tagging him hard with solid rights and left hooks, round 4 had Carter almost knocking Giardiello out with a thunderous left hook cutting the older man above the left eye, with just seconds from disaster Giardiello managed to soak up the punishment to survive the round.
For the remainder of the fight and subsequent win the champion got on his toes making Carter miss wildly, sticking behind his jab and counter punching Carter’s aggressive but ineffective advances, the last 5 rounds saw the Hurricane totally out boxed, giving the champion the unanimous points win, however many at ring side believed the Carter should have had the decision.
On June 17, 1966 the 29-year-old Carter was arrested for the alleged Shooting and murder of 3 bar room regulars. After being convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the crime we will never know if he would of challenged for the title again, he came so close to becoming the middleweight champion but due to a racially motivated conspiracy based upon Carters pre boxing misdemeanours.
His life and his career were taken away.
Rubin Hurricane Carter was released from prison November 1985 after a lengthy federal court hearing. He received an honorary championship title belt in 1993 from the World Boxing Council also later inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.