Perhaps the message gets through. Griffin opens up in the sixth round, just like that day with his sparring partner. One instant nothing is happening, the next instant he is throwing punches with what he calls "bad intentions." A vicious uppercut buckles Coleman. A primal, animal cry rises through the hall. People yell and cheer each blow. This was the fight they wanted, the hometown boy pummeling the stranger from out of town.
"This was getting too close," Griffin says later. "I wanted to get him out of there."
A knockout seemed seconds away. Then the bell rang -- just like Mr. Mack calling time in the gym.