Montell Griffin decisions Norman Jones for USBA 175 Pound Title
Heavyweight Kevin Johnson outboxes Robert Hawkins
By Alex Pierpaoli
originally published 4/4/06 on KOFantasyBoxing.com
Montell Griffin picked up the USBA Light Heavyweight Title with a decision win over Stormin’ Norman Jones on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights at Mohegan Sun. The Griffin-Jones fight was the main event of a five bout card in Uncasville.
Light heavyweight Montell Griffin was the only one with a win over the great Roy Jones Jr, for a while at least; Jones has been defeated twice more since then. But Griffin was doing well against a prime Roy Jones, and even lead on two of the scorecards when the fight was stopped in March of 1997. Griffin picked up a DQ victory over his Royness when a frustrated Jones bonked Griffin on the head with a right hand while Griffin was already down. Up until that point Griffin had been successful in stymieing Roy Jones jab-less, liquid style of rapid power punches.
But today Griffin isn’t quite as fast himself and versus Norman Jones’ cross-armed pressure offense Griffin scored with mostly left jabs while his combinations bounced harmlessly off the shoulders and elbows of Jones.
Stormin’ Norman did come out hard to start the fight but fizzled in the face of Griffin’s jab and boxing skill. Jones pressured Griffin in the early rounds trying to outmuscle him, but all Stormin’ Norman ended up with was a bloody nose.
In the end Griffin’s jabs and left hooks were still enough to finish with a unanimous decision win that scored him the vacant USBA title by scores two of 118-110, and the third judge had it 119-109.
Norman Jones fell to 28-15-3 (9) with the defeat while Griffin improved to 48-6 (30).
In the co-feature, heavyweight Kevin Johnson pumped a beautiful heavyweight jab into the face of Robert Hawkins for 8 rounds to secure a unanimous decision victory. Hawkins was never able to close the distance on the 26 year old Johnson, whose jab conjures images of heavyweight greats like Larry Holmes or Sonny Liston. But Johnson needs to work on the rest of his arsenal of punches if he hopes to end more of his fights by kayo rather than decision, a fact that Johnson seemed well aware of after the bout.
“It was a lesson,” said Kevin Johnson. “It was a jab lesson… I got a jab that can shut down anybody in the top ten. I’m still a baby in this game…This is what I have to offer tonight as a baby, but just imagine when I’m mature.”
The assembled crowd was probably most enthusiastic about New Haven’s Elvin Ayala who defeated William Gill by unanimous decision after six rounds. Ayala used a half left-hook half uppercut to close the distance on the stronger and more awkward opponent. Ayala’s hooker-cut was flashy and effective and it made the crowd roar for the local product. Gill did a lot of talking throughout the fight, perhaps because of the problems he had trying to bust through Ayala’s defense, but it never helped draw Ayala into a slugging match.
With the win, Ayala improved to 13-0 (5) and Gill dropped to 3-7 (2).
The first bout of the night saw Brooklyn’s Wesley Hobbs beat Ron Lewis by unanimous decision after four rounds. Hobbs remains undefeated in 3 fights as a pro with 2 kayos. Lewis remains without a victory and is 0-2 as a pro.
In the evening’s walkout bout, undefeated Matt Remillard roughed up Edward Valdez in a six rounder. Remillard scored a first round knockdown, and early in the second, he dropped Valdez again with an overhand right that was more to the shoulder than the chin. Valdez rose from the knockdown and was able to cover up, step back and fight just enough to last the rest of the distance while losing a unanimous decision.
Remillard finished with a record of 8-0 (6) while Valdez fell to 3-4-2 (2).
Send comments or questions to Alex Pierpaoli at: KOFantasyBoxing@gmail.com