On the 14th of December 1964 a boxer with a record of 20 wins from 24 fights stood in the middle of the ring at Convention Hall, Philadelphia, and watched the Referee raise the hand of the defending Middleweight World Champion – Joey Giardello. The challenger was Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and he had put up a good contest, travelling the whole 15 rounds with his pride intact, despite losing easily to the champ on points.
Rubin never fought for the title again and just three years later he wound up on the receiving end of a life sentence for murder despite the fact he didn’t do it. Rubin’s case was one of the USA’s worst ever miscarriages of justice, garnering popular support for his release and an overhall of a racist police force. He served nearly twenty years in prison – despite a review of the case in 1975 and the support of Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan (who wrote the famous song “The Hurricane” about him). Rubin was released in 1985 after a Federal court Judge described the prosecution at the time – “predicted upon appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure”.
Rubin Carter spent the rest of his years campaigning for all miscarriages of justice in the USA and doing motivational speaking. He was a popular and well thought of man who never bore any anger to his his circumstances, once remarking that it was “better to live in a land where justice and truth can be found, even if it is late. That, to me, is heaven.”
Rubin was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012 and died today aged 76.