Griffith also worked with Duane Bobick, Randy Stephens, Ed (Too Tall) Jones, James (Bonecrusher) Smith and Brian Mitchell. He was renowned for his ability to get fighters into top shape. His methods were resolutely old school, as he had boxers push logs and boulders up steep hills, shadowbox under water, and run with sandbags fastened to their torsos.
"I hear fighters today talk about their trainers and their masseuses and their nutritionists and their sports psychologists," said Mancini. "Griff was all that to me—and more. When I came to New York, I was 18-years-old and didn’t know anybody or anything, and he was like a second father to me."
By day, Mancini trained under Griffith at the Times Square Gym. By night, he slept on Griffith’s couch. "One day, Ray, one day," Griffith told him. "You’re going to be my first champion."
On May 8, 1982, Mancini did just that, knocking out Arturo Frias in the first round to win the WBA Lightweight Championship. "I was an Italian kid from Youngstown, Ohio," recalled Mancini. "I had a Jewish manager from New York, and a black trainer from the Virgin Islands. We were the original Rainbow Coalition."
Griffith. the uncle of the great Emile Griffith, was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He served honorably for 30 years in the United States Navy. He saw action in World War II and received many decorations, including three Bronze Stars and a National Defense Service Medal.
Griffith and his wife, Norma Lopez, were married for 58 years. She died November 30, 2007. They had three children: Helen, Humberto and Alecia.