Jones pictured after his highlight reel knockout of Griffin. Photo by The Ring/ Getty Images
“RJ” was never more devastating.
On August 7, 1997, Roy Jones Jr. scored a thunderous one-punch knockout of Montell Griffin to regain the WBC light heavyweight title at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The official time was 2:31.
Five months earlier, Jones lost his unbeaten record to Griffin by disqualification. After having taken control of a technical encounter, Jones had Griffin on the hook and ready to be taken in Round 9. However, when Griffin took a knee to clear his head, Jones released a light right hand and a much heavier left hook. These shots were illegal, so a DQ was not hard to justify, but Jones felt Griffin faked the knockout reaction.
As a result, he held a grudge.
Griffin’s gameplan for fight one was constructed by legendary coach Eddie Futch. Coming into the rematch, Futch was no longer part of the team and Thell Torrence was chief second. If there was a gameplan for the sequel, Griffin was given no time to execute it.
A revenge-minded Jones hurt his nemesis with a sharp left hook in the opening 10 seconds of the bout. Before the fight was 20 seconds old, Griffin was down from another hook. Startled and embarrassed when he rose from the early knockdown, the Chicago-based champ wore the look of a man who would rather be somewhere else. Jones pursued with high-voltage power shots and Griffin couldn’t retreat fast enough.
With just over a minute remaining in Round 1, Jones feinted a half hook-half uppercut with the left hand and Griffin pulled his head back. The rampaging but quick-thinking challenger retained his opponent’s reaction and awaited another opportunity. Moments later, Jones leapt forward with the same half-hook-half uppercut and as Griffin pulled his head back, the shot nailed him flush on the jaw. The champ looked like he’d been tasered. Just like Trevor Berbick’s limbs refused to cooperate after he was decked by Mike Tyson in November 1986, Griffin crashed to the canvas three times before being counted out.