1997-08-07 Roy Jones w co 1 Montell Griffin, Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, USA - WBC

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1997-08-07 Roy Jones w co 1 Montell Griffin, Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, USA - WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante. Billed as ‘Unfinished Business’, Jones (175) made no mistake this time round when sending the champion down with a left hook early on. Although looking to have overcome the early storm the 5’7” Griffin (174) was in trouble again towards the end of the session, and after being caught heavily by a terrific left uppercut he made several desperate attempts to get up before being counted out with 29 seconds of the opening round still remaining.

Jones was reported to have relinquished the WBC version of the title in early November after refusing to meet Michael Nunn, stating that HBO, the cable network who had him under contract, would not be televising the fight. Following the announcement, Nunn v Graciano Rocchigiani, the WBC’s number-two ranked fighter, went out for purse bids to decide the vacant title.

Meanwhile, within a day or so of the match being made towards the end of November 1997, Jones was saying he would like time to negotiate a fight with Nunn despite contracts being in place for the latter to contest the title with Rocchigiani. With it being difficult enough for Rocchigiani and Nunn to prepare with all this going on, come the week of the fight the former picked up a bad dose of flu which saw the date moved on to 21 March from 7 February.

Although Rocchigiani beat Nunn (w pts 12 at the Max Schmeling Hall, Berlin, Germany), if the WBC, who were now calling it an ‘interim’ title bout while continuing to rate Jones as champion, believed the problem was going to go away they should have thought again. Over four years later, in the District Court of Manhattan, New York, Rocchigiani, who had been released on bail while serving a 12-month prison sentence, won a landmark case against one of the alphabet boys when the WBC were ordered to pay him $31 million in compensation. Also, for what it was worth, the Court retroactively handed Rocchigiani back the title in April 2003, but only for the period 28 March 1998 to 15 April 2000 when he lost in a WBO title bout against Dariusz Michalczewski.