Middleweight boxing great, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, also known for spending 19 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, has died.

(Photo by Hamish Blair/Liaison)
(Photo by Hamish Blair/Liaison)

Rubin Carter stood 5 ft 8 in, so he was shorter than the average middleweight, but his aggressive style and punching power got him a lot of attention.  His punches were so devastating, his boxing technique made him a crowd favorite and earned him the nickname "Hurricane."  Carter's boxing career record was 27 wins, 12 losses, and one draw in 40 fights, with 19 of them being way of total knockouts (8 KOs and 11 TKOs to be exact).

In 1993, Hurricane Carter, received an honorary championship title belt from the World Boxing Council and was later inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.  That's just a fracture of his story.

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter's life was played out on the big screen as the boxer was introduced to the world by the one and only Denzel Washington.  What made his story so captivating is the fact that Carter wound up serving 19 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Unfortunately, his rather lengthy criminal record didn't help him at all.  As a youngster, he had been in and out of juvi and as a young adult went to jail several times, for various crimes including assaults and robberies -- but not murder.  His life was turned upside-down in 1966, when police arrested him and friend John Artis for a triple-homicide in the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey.

Police took no fingerprints at the crime scene and lacked the facilities to conduct a paraffin test (a test for gunshot residue).  Eyewitnesses DID NOT identify Carter or Artis as the shooters, but it made no difference as the two men were convicted of the murders anyway, not once but twice (in 1967 and 1976).  After new evidence was submitted and proved they were wrongfully convicted, in 1985 the second conviction was overturned.

(Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
(Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

Hurricane Carter's autobiography, titled The Sixteenth Round, was published in 1975and inspired the 1975 Bob Dylan song "Hurricane" and that led to the 1999 film The Hurricane (starring Denzel Washington as Carter).

After his release, Carter became an activist and served as executive director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005 helping others in his same situation.  Currant director of client services, Win Wahrer, told CNN, "I always remember spending hours and hours with Rubin talking about the wrongful convictions.  He was a great mentor and teacher.  I felt very fortunate to have those times with him. ... He lived a very full life."  By the way, Wahrer confirm Carter died of complications from prostate cancer.  

In the video below, three years ago Carter sat down with CNN  and talked about how prison allowed him to do two things: get rid of his anger and realize his destiny was to fight for justice.

Carter lived in Toronto ever since his release and that is were he died at age 76.  His dear friend John Artis was with him when he died early Sunday morning.

Members of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted said, "Rubin will be remembered by those at AIDWYC who were fortunate enough to have worked with him as a truly courageous man who fought tirelessly to free others who had suffered the same fate as he. We will continue to fight against wrongful convictions, a battle that Rubin valiantly fought until the day he died. Rest in peace Rubin, your battle is over but you will never be forgotten."

In his 2011 book, "Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom," Carter explained that he was not perfect and felt guilt for a number of crimes he deeply regretted. The former boxer said he committed those crimes when he was blind, operating unconsciously (a recurring theme in his book).  He also admits a lot of his anger came from growing up under Jim Crow.

R.I.P Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter

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