Jones and Tarver set to get it on this weekend

07.11.03 - By Vaughn Featherstone: When Roy Jones Jr. (48-1 38KO) and Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver (21-1 17KO) get it on a Saturday, November 9 (Las Vegas Mandalay Bay. 9PM EST), all of the talk and bad blood will be swirling inside the ring. These two have went at it verbally for over two years and now it will come down to who is ready to put up and who will shut up. No more excuses, no more opponents. It's Jones and Tarver, in the ring with only one man between them. He won't be doing the fighting, he'll be doing the refereeing. Jones stated that he will knock Tarver out, so, in his (Jones) mind, the judges won't have a say in the fight.

These two have a past long before they both exited the Olympics and rose to prominence in the Light-heavyweight division. These two fought as thirteen year olds back in Florida (Sunshine State Games of 1982). Both fighters have their own recollection of the fight. But did we really think that they would agree on it? Jones stated that he won a one sided affair that wasn't the least bit competitive. Tarver stated that the fight was closed and that he chased Jones around the ring. Who knows? Does anyone have a tape of the fight? All jokes aside, Jones stated that the amateur fight has no bearing on what will happen on Saturday. All he knows that all of the talk Tarver has spat over the years will hurt him in the ring."Tarver wants revenge and I am going to give it to him."Jones stated this past week. Tarver has claimed that Jones has been "ducking" him over the years but his beef may not be legitimate. Tarver was in position to fight Jones in 2000. However, he was told he needed to take the fight with Eric Harding before he could fight Jones. Tarver lost that fight unanimously (he was dropped in round 11), thus Harding received the title shot. (NOTE: Jones defeated Harding by TKO in the 10th round). An irate Tarver went on to state that it was unfair for him to have to fight Harding before he fought Jones. Tarver returned to the ring with spectacular victories over former Jones victims. Among them were his rematch with Harding (TKO5), Reggie Johnson (W12), and Montel Griffin (W12) . ( In this fight, he dropped Griffin in rounds one and twelve, thus winning the IBF/WBC titles that Jones vacated).

One would think that the beef between Tarver ad Jones was done. But it was far from that. After Jones' win, fights like Lewis/Jones, Tyson/Jones and even a rematch with James "Lights Out" Toney were talked about. A fight with Evander Holyfield were discussed but were scrapped. Tarver, all along awaited, Jones eventual return to the Light-Heavyweight division. This is something that Tarver wanted badly. In fact, after Jones' knockout win over overmatched Glen Kelley (KO7), an overly-hyped up Jones went on record, during his tirade at Undisputed Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins that, "I might give Antonio Tarver a chance because he deserves it!"

(NOTE: Hopkins and Jones fought on the same fight card but in different location on February 2nd, 2002). With the fight finally scheduled, both fighters have talked the talk. Now, they must "walk the walk."

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Article posted on 07.11.2003

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