Benny Paret, whose real name was Bernardo Paret, was a Cuban welterweight boxer who won the World Welterweight Championship twice in the early 1960s.
He was born on March 14, 1937, in Santa Clara, Cuba, and died on April 3, 1962, at the age of 25 in New York City, USA.
Paret’s death was chronicled in a 1962 protest song by folk singer Gil Turner, titled Benny ‘Kid’ Paret, and a poem by Australian ex-boxer Merv Lilley.
Benny Paret early life
Paret was born on March 14, 1937, in Santa Clara, Cuba.
He grew up in a sugar-farming region of central Cuba and left school at the age of six to work in the cane fields.
Paret’s family stayed behind in Cuba when he moved to the United States a few years before Fidel Castro took over.
He was illiterate in two languages and relied on his older, wiser, and charismatic manager, Manuel Alfaro, who was a successful entrepreneur and nightclub owner.
Paret’s plan, with the help of Alfaro, was to become a successful boxer and eventually own a butcher shop on the Grand Concourse in New York.
In his early life, he turned to boxing as a way to escape poverty and provide a better life for himself and his family.
Paret began his professional boxing career in the late 1950s and quickly gained recognition as a talented welterweight boxer, earning the nickname, Kid.
His rise to fame was marked by his two World Welterweight Championship wins in the early 1960s.
Benny Paret cause of death
Paret died as a result of injuries sustained in a title defense match against Emile Griffith on March 24, 1962.
The fight was televised live on ABC’s Fight of the Week and witnessed by millions of viewers.
Paret collapsed in the corner from a barrage of punches, initially thought to be from exhaustion, and fell into a coma.
He died ten days later at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan from massive brain hemorrhaging.
Paret’s death was caused by the tightness of the brain lining, which, when blood collects, exerts tremendous pressure on the brain, eventually leading to death.
He was buried at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City.
Brain hemorrhaging in boxing
Brain hemorrhaging is a serious and potentially fatal injury that can occur in boxing.
It is caused by the rupture of large blood vessels in the brain during a fight, which can lead to subdural hematomas, the most common form of sports-related intracranial bleeding.
Acute subdural hematoma is the most common acute brain injury in boxing, accounting for 75% of all acute brain injuries and is the leading cause of boxing fatalities.
When a boxer suffers from a subdural hematoma, they may experience a range of symptoms, including loss of consciousness, neurological deterioration, and a state of unconsciousness that worsens from a few minutes after knockout.
When large blood vessels in the brain rupture during a fight, it is almost impossible to save the person’s life.
The few who are saved from death are left with serious neurological disabilities.
Brain hemorrhaging in boxing is caused by repeated blows to the head, which can cause a neurochemical reaction in the brain cells that leads to cell death.
The more cells that die, the fewer brain tissue you have, which may explain why people who suffer from head injuries are never quite the same afterward.
One solution to prevent brain hemorrhaging in boxing is to reverse the rules on fouls to make a punch to the head a foul and a punch below the belt a scoring shot.
This would discourage boxers from aiming for the head and reduce the risk of serious head injuries.
The best medical management intervention for subdural hematoma seems to be to diagnose and treat the lesions as early as possible after occurrence of subdural hematoma.
Benny Paret career
Paret fought 50 times in his professional boxing career, with 35 wins, 12 losses and 3 draws.
He won the welterweight title for the first time in 1960, but lost it seven months later when Emile Griffith knocked him out.
However, half a year later, Paret defeated Griffith when he captured a split decision over Griffith to recapture the crown.
His last professional fight was a welterweight title defense bout against American boxer Emile Griffith on March 24, 1962.
Paret lost the fight and went into a coma after the fight, dying ten days later due to brain hemorrhaging from punches to his head.
Some of his notable victories include wins over Hall-of-Famer Emile Griffith, Luis Federico Thompson, Garnet Hart, Don Jordan and Victor Zalazar.
Paret had a lifetime record of 35 wins (11 knockouts), 12 losses and 3 draws.
He held two world titles at the welterweight weight division, both of which were lineal championship wins.
Paret’s professional boxing career spanned more than 7 years — from 1954 to 1962.
He made his professional boxing debut against Oscar Campos at the age of 17 on April 16, 1954, defeating Campos via 6 round PTS.
Paret had a 22% KO rate. Of his total 11 KO wins, eight were in the early rounds and three in the mid rounds. He had two first-round KO wins.