Top Contenders Set Their Sights on 175-Pound
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
Goossen Tutor Promotions, LLC.