Montell ‘Ice’ Griffin was a Light Heavyweight Champion in the late 1990’s and is someone who is often overlooked in that era and not given enough credit. Griffin gave a lot of problems to two of the best boxers of the time – Roy Jones Jr(whom Griffin actually beat to inflict the first loss of Jones career, albeit by disqualification) and twice against James Toney.
Now Griffin is a good example of how important it is to have a smart mind in your corner because his coach was actually Eddie Futch and Futch would have many supporters who would say he was the best boxing coach in history. There’s little doubt he was one of the best in my opinion and although I wouldn’t want to say where exactly I rank him, it is the top three because you can interchange the top three as they’re all that good.
The video below looks at the second fight between Griffin and James Toney and we see some of the techniques Eddie Futch instructed Montell Griffin to use against Toney. First of all the game plan called for a lot of lateral movement from Griffin to make sure Toney would not be able to set his feet. Toney loved to fight inside the pocket and up close as he was a master counter puncher so by moving laterally, Griffin was not allowing Toney to plant and counter punch.
A lot of Griffins movements were pivots to the left of Toney, this was because Toney was mostly looking to counter with his right hand so by pivoting to Toney’s left, Griffin was essentially moving to what they viewed as Toney’s ‘weak’ side for want of a better term – thus staying away from the right hand of James Toney.
An interesting point to note is that Griffin often just refrained from throwing his right hand, because he knew Toney was always looking to counter punch the right hand with his own right hand. By not throwing the right hand, Griffin was taking away Toney’s opportunity to counter punch with the right.
Griffin would though use his right hand often enough off the pivot as described above. When Griffin would pivot to the left of Toney, which was the side they believed Toney was not as efficient in, Griffin would throw the right hand. Due to Toney’s stance which held the lead hand low, when Griffin pivoted to the left of Toney and threw the right hand, Toney with his hand low and turning to reset to the angle given by Griffin’s pivot, would often be caught out allowing Griffin to land his right hand on Toney.
This was another example of the ring genius of Eddie Futch and his ability to find weaknesses in his opponents and why he is considered as one of the all time great boxing coaches.