Police seeking ex-boxer Vinny Paz after report of attack

File/Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Boxer Vinny Paz worked out in the basement of his Warwick, R.I., home in 2014.

By Globe Staff 

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PROVIDENCE — Former boxing champion Vinny Paz, a Rhode Island native whose exploits were chronicled in the 2016 film “Bleed For This,” might soon have another fight on his hands, this time playing out in the courts instead of the ring.

Providence police Major David Lapatin, a department spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that an arrest warrant charging felony assault had been issued for the 55-year-old Paz, a Cranston-bred boxer.


Lapatin did not provide details of the underlying incident.

The Associated Press reported that Providence officers responded early Tuesday to a home where witnesses said Paz had accused a friend of stealing $16,000 and then assaulted him, leaving the victim with broken teeth, a black eye, and marks from a bite that drew blood.

Paz couldn’t be reached for comment, but he told WPRI-TV outside his Warwick residence Tuesday, “Bottom line is, I got robbed, and when that happens, you got to do what you got to do.”

He added on Twitter, “STOP WITH BS STORY STOP !!!!!”

The fighter’s media team didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.


Paz, who legally changed his last name from Pazienza in 2000, amassed a record of 50-10 with 30 knockouts over a professional boxing career that spanned from 1983 to 2004.

Paz, nicknamed the Pazmanian Devil, was a two-time world champion when he broke his neck in a car crash in 1991, devastating many fight fans who felt he would never fight again.

The fear was not unfounded. Doctors told him he could never again lace up the gloves and that he was fortunate he wasn’t a paraplegic. They drilled four holes into his skull and fitted him with a halo, a metal-rod brace to immobilize his head.

But they couldn’t contain him fully.

Paz secretly lifted weights and worked out, despite the searing pain. Within a year, he returned to the ring and went on to win three more titles.

His improbable comeback was dramatized in the Hollywood film starring Miles Teller as the gritty boxer.

Notable fights included a 1995 clash with Roy Jones Jr., which Paz lost by sixth-round technical knockout, and two fights against Panamanian legend Roberto Duran. He defeated an aging Duran, a feared puncher whose nom de guerre, “Manos de Piedra,” translates to Hands of Stone, by unanimous decision in June 1994 and again in January 1995.

He also starched British middleweight Lloyd Honeyghan by technical knockout in June 1993, upstaging heavyweight Evander Holyfield, who put in a lackluster performance at the top of the card in Atlantic City.

Paz has had prior brushes with the law.

He pleaded no contest in 2012 to a charge of disorderly conduct and was ordered to perform community service and undergo alcohol counseling, according to court records. A simple assault charge in that case was dismissed.

Prior charges for an alleged domestic assault in 2007 were also dismissed.

He also pleaded no contest in July 2007 to a charge of drunken driving and lost his license for 18 months. He was ordered to perform 60 hours of community service and undergo “DWI Treatment” in that case, records show.

Two years earlier, the champ was booked for resisting arrest but had that charge dismissed as well. An impaired driving charge stemming from an incident in 2000 was also dropped, according to court records.

On Tuesday, Paz continued to come out swinging on Twitter.

“NO COMMENT !!!!!” he thundered in a follow-up tweet. “I’m the bad guy oh really ??? I’m the victim !!! STOP.”

Material from the Providence Journal was used in this report Correspondent Adam Sennott and Stan Grossfeld of the Globe staff contributed to this report Travis Andersen can be reached at