Roy Jones Jr kayoed Virgil Hill with one punch 21 years ago
One of the most spectacular fighters of the 1990s scored one of the signature one punch knockouts of his career 21 years ago, Thursday night. That’s when Roy Jones Jr., the World Light Heavyweight champion, needed only one wicked body punch to eliminate former world champion, Virgil Hill, in a scheduled 12 rounder.
Here was the backdrop to the Hill fight:
Jones had won his first 33 professional bouts, including World Championships in the Middleweight and Super-Middleweight divisions before a move up to Light Heavyweight in November of 1996. He defeated reigning WBC champ, Mike McCallum, in a 12 round unanimous decision to capture his third world title in a different weight class and improve to 34 – 0.
Then, one of the controversial moment’s of Jones’ professional career occurred in his next fight in March of 1997. That’s when Jones suffered his first pro loss on a ninth-round disqualification in Atlantic City, New Jersey, fighting light heavyweight contender Montell Griffin.
Jones was winning easily and then, scored a quick knockdown in the 9th round of fight. With Griffin on one knee from the punch, Jones landed one extra punch a half second later and Griffin flopped the canvas and laid there, unable to get up as the ref counted to ten.
After much discussion between the referee, the boxing commission and the WBC it was determined that the punch was illegal and Jones was disqualified. A rematch was hastily made and Jones was back in the ring with Griffin in August, just 5 months later. He destroyed Griffin in 2 minutes with a knockout to recapture his titles.
That set the stage for his next fight, at 35 – 1, on April 25th of 1998 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
That’s when he took on former Olympic silver medalist and former two-division World Champion himself, in Virgil Hill,
Jones was dominating the early part of the fight with his trademark lightning hand speed and combinations and then in the fourth round, came one of the more devastating body punches you could ever see.
Hill was left writhing in pain with a fractured rib from the right hand to the right side from which, he never got up. Jones had erased all bad memories of the Griffin disqualification, with back-to-back early KOs.
The knockout was immortalized even more, when Jones put out a famous rap song titled, “Ya’ll Must’ve Forgot,” chastising those who were questioning or doubting him.
Here’s the music video with boxing highlights included:
It’s still CLASSIC to hear Jones rapping at the one minute mark, “stopped Virgil Hill with a BODY SHOT. Ya’ll Must’ve Forgot!”
Jones would amass 12 more successful title defenses throughout the late 90s and into the early 2000s with his reign lasting all the way until May of 2004. That’s when Antonio Tarver knocked out Jones for the first time in his career in the second round to capture all of the light heavyweight belts.
Jones was also subsequently knocked out in his next fight four months later in September of 2004 by Jamaican Glen Johnson. Then, Jones fought Tarver again in October of 2005, and lost for the third consecutive time overall, this time on unanimous decision.
Jones continued to fight, as a Cruiserweight winning World Titles there too, all the way up until February of 2018. He finished with 66 wins and 9 defeats including 47 knockouts.
He still holds the all-time record for most consecutive successful defenses of the Unified Light Heavyweight title with 12 straight. He was also named “The Fighter of the Decade” for the 1990s by the Boxing Writers association of America.
And, 21 years ago, he threw the “Body Punch of the Decade,” too.