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Retired Boxer Vinny Paz Charged With Beating and Biting Another Man

By Chris Jasurek

Vinny Paz, the former five-time world champion who retired from fighting in 2004, was arraigned Wednesday, Jan. 3, for a charge of felony assault arising from an incident on the night of Jan. 1.

Paz, 55, reportedly went with his girlfriend to the home of a friend, 34-year-old Nathaniel Lavoie around 11:30 p.m.  According to witnesses, Paz pounded on the door of the apartment at 310 Hawkins St. in Providence, Rhode Island, until Lavoie let him in.

Once inside, according to two eyewitnesses, Paz accused Lavoie of breaking into Paz’s home at 54 Tivoli Court, Warwick, and stealing $16,000.

Vinny Pazienza (left) and Lloyd Honeyghan in action during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 22, 1993. (Al Bello /Allsport)
Vinny Pazienza (L) and Lloyd Honeyghan in action during a bout in Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 22, 1993. (Al Bello /Allsport)

Paz allegedly attacked Lavoie, punching him in the face several times.

Lavoie called the police just after midnight and swore out a complaint stating that Paz had punched him in the face repeatedly, knocking out or damaging several teeth and giving him a black eye. He told the police he was bitten several times on his left hand.

Lavoie was treated at a local hospital for several missing or broken teeth, a black eye, and bites that drew blood.

Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin said the injuries were severe enough to warrant a charge of felony assault.

Former boxer Vinny Paz attends Open Road's New York premiere of 'Bleed For This' at AMC Lincoln Square on November 14, 2016 in New York City.( Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)
Former boxer Vinny Paz attends Open Road’s New York premiere of “Bleed For This” at AMC Lincoln Square on Nov. 14, 2016, in New York City.( Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Paz, flanked by his attorney, turned himself into Providence Public Safety Complex early on Jan. 3 in response to the warrant issued for him on Jan. 2.

The former fighter was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and told to steer clear of Lavoie. The next hearing is scheduled for April 5.                                         

Paz turned to Twitter to defend himself after the incident, claiming that he was robbed and “when that happens, you gotta do what you gotta do,” as he told a news crew from WPRI-TV.

He told people he was the victim, and to stop spreading an inaccurate story.  

Matin Scorsese and Vinny Paz attend Open Road's New York Premiere of 'Bleed For This' at AMC Lincoln Square on November 14, 2016 in New York City. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)
Martin Scorsese and Vinny Paz attend Open Road’s New York Premiere of “Bleed For This” at AMC Lincoln Square on Nov. 14, 2016, in New York City. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Long Career, Colorful History

Vinny Paz, born Vincenzo Edward Pazienza, (he changed his name legally in 2001) started boxing professionally in 1984 and ran up a very respectable 50-10 record, winning world titles in the lightweight, light-middleweight, and super-middleweight divisions.

He was involved in a serious auto accident in 1991 in which he broke his neck. Doctors told him he might never walk again.

This part of his career was documented in the 2016 feature film. “Bleed for This,” starring Miles Teller as the young Vinny Paz.

After retiring Paz found his pugnacious attitude landed him in trouble on a more than a few occasions, including seven counts of passing bad checks in 2003drunken driving,  and domestic abuse in 2007,  disorderly conduct for a fight with two women at a Providence bar in 2012, and a fight over a $23 bar tab in 2013.

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