Top Contenders Set Their Sights on 175-Pound Supremacy
Harmon, Griffin Part of Busy Light-Heavyweight Weekend

LOS ANGELES (June 11, 2002) - When top light heavyweight contenders Montell Griffin (the No. 9 IBF contender) and Derrick Harmon (No. 3) climb into the ring to face each other on July 21 at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, CA, more is at stake than just a victory.

In fact, by the time the weekend is over, a weekend that also includes a light heavyweight bout between Antonio Tarver (No. 1) facing Eric Harding (No. 4) in Indianapolis, two premier 175 pounders will have emerged as challengers for world champion Roy Jones Jr. For Griifin and Harmon, a shot at Jones would be a shot at redemption.

“This fight means a lot to me,’’ said Griffin (42-3, 28 KOs), who handed Roy Jones Jr. his only defeat, a 1997 disqualification win that netted Montell the world light heavyweight championship. “My goal is to move up and get another title shot. Derrick is a decent fighter, but when I’m at my best, I think I’m the best in the world.’’

Harmon and Griffin, who are both training in Las Vegas, are familiar with each other. “I used to work out with Montell,’’ said Harmon (22-2, 10 KOs), who is coming off a big win over world contender Glen Johnson in April. “If I beat him, it means I’ll get closer to fighting for the title.’’

The Harmon-Griffin bout, promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and televised as part of the Fox Sports Net Sunday Night Fights series, will not only match two of the division's premier fighters, but is also planting the seed for a possible light heavyweight tournament, with the winner hoping to battle the winner of Tarver-Harding.

“It’s four of the top 10 light-heavyweight contenders meeting inside of 48 hours,’’ said promoter Dan Goossen. “It only seems right that the two winners eventually meet. It’s as though we are generating our own title elimination tournament. These are the type of fights we vehemently push to promote, ones with consequences for both the winner and loser. Sort of a winner take all fight.’’

But it’s still in the hands of Jones, who is rumored to be moving up a division in search of new goals and bigger paydays. “A lot depends on what he decides to do," said Goossen. “But when someone does vacate a title, everything seems to happen quicker. With these two fights, it’s like the West (Harmon-Griffin) against the East (Tarver-Harding). The winner of our fight is the Los Angeles Lakers and the Tarver-Harding winner is the New Jersey Nets. And we all know what's happening there.’’

Also scheduled to appear on the card is lightweight Jose Luis Juarez of Mexico (23-4-1, 19 KOs), who recently won a decision over tough Lovemore N’Dou in a Fight of the Year candidate. “A few contenders and one world champion have turned down a fight with Jose because they don’t want to fight him,’’ Goossen said. “As a promoter, that’s the type of fighter you want, one who is so good that no one wants to get into the ring with him. We’re looking forward to getting him back on Fox Sports Net .’’

As always, the card will feature ring announcer Amy Hayes, who appeared in the March 2002 issue of Playboy magazine.


Norman D. Horton
NDH Consultants

Craig Goossen
Goossen Tutor Promotions, LLC.