Inspired By ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Avious Griffin Puts Wrongful Conviction Behind And Raise World Title Hopes

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Avious Griffin sat in a jail cell watching a fourteen-inch TV screen he paid $280 for – and saw his life in a movie. 

Griffin returns Saturday, May 11th against Lesther Espino at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, N.J.

Griffin was falsely imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit in 2018. His arrest came in Johnson City, Tennessee. One fateful evening he watched Bounce TV (fight fights might remember their ill-fated boxing programing) upon facing a severe incarnation and saw Denzel Washington’s portal of Ruben ‘Hurricane’ Carter. A boxer who was wrongfully convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. 

“When I was in jail [that movie] came on,” recalled Griffin. “See Bounce TV in jail was the only movie channel we had. I paid two-fifty for a fourteen-inch TV. Then I had to pay another thirty-two dollars for [the antenna]. They don’t give you the TV and the antenna.”

The screen was not your modern flatscreen.

“It wasn’t even bigger than a microwave,” retorted Griffin. “I maybe had eight channels – and I saw that movie, Hurricane – in jail. I was like, f**k, that man is going through what I am going through. That movie gave me faith in jail, I told my momma about that movie in phone call.”

In 2020, the charges against him were dismissed after prosecutors determined they could not sufficiently charge him in connection to the murder. The crime took place on July 24, 2017. At the time of his arrest, Griffin was a 3-0 prospect with 160 amateur fights. Griffin reflected upon if he ever thought he’d fight again. 

 “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think [my pro career] might be over, huh,” stated Griffin candidly. “When I was incarcerated it was all up-and-down. I can’t lie. Incarceration just sort of broke me down. I just had to rebuild myself. Yeah – I had moments in there where I thought it might be too late, or my time had passed.”

Griffin started over and went all in on his dream. He moved to Las Vegas. This wasn’t the first time he had been a risk-taker. Griffin went to college when others from his neighborhood didn’t. He now trains with Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre, the coach of Terence Crawford and Keyshawn Davis. Griffin recalled the meeting. 

“I got out and I did everything I said I was going to do,” proudly voiced Griffin who felt many didn’t believe he’d be a man of action. “I moved to [Las] Vegas and I got back on track, and now I am with the trainer of the year in Omaha, Nebraska [Brian McIntyre].”

Griffin also voiced that he was proud that it wasn’t just ‘jail talk’. A term used amongst those incarnated for having big dreams and aspirations, but never doing much with them. Upon his release, he hit the ground running.

“I told [BoMac] what I was looking for and what I expected – and I just watch them train for a day,” Griffin explained. “He wanted me to just watch how he programmed [workout]. So I watched how he programmed and he told me to come and try it out for a week. I guess that was his test to see if I was worth training.”

Now, Griffin is sitting in a room in Omaha, Nebraska. He no longer is residing in Las Vegas, Nevada – something he joked about as he left the good weather of Vegas for the true four seasons of Nebraska. Nothing about Griffin’s journey has been predictable. 

Yet, despite training beside the world champion, it is the youth of tomorrow that motivates him the most. In camp back in Omaha, young fighters, amateurs, train beside him. Griffin loves that. 

“I haven’t been around the amateur atmosphere since I was an amateur,” noted Griffin. “I like that atmosphere because the little kids are so energetic – their energy is just always high. I will probably always be that guy who is the professional that comes and trains with the younger kids because it is motivating. They feed off my energy and I feed off their energy. I like it compared to just being around all pros where everybody is just sort of ego-tripping.”

Griffin’s new situation seems to be his best. His story isn’t finished, but as it unfolds it leads to what he hopes will be a book one day. He stated he has four chapters written in his head. His upcoming fight could very well be the first paragraph of his fifth chapter. 

Lucas Ketelle is a proud member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and author of “Inside The Ropes of Boxing” (available on Amazon). Contact him on X @LukieBoxing.

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