Jones-Tarver II Preview

14.05.04 - By Jose Sanchez - Overview: Seen by many experts as the best pound for pound fighter since perhaps ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson, it would seem Roy Jones Jr. has very little left to prove in the sport. A single ‘controversial’ loss (later avenged) is the only blemish on his record; he has even defeated a heavyweight title holder (although not the consensus champ). Why then would Roy Jones take a rematch with Antonio Tarver, a fighter whom he already defeated in his last outing? To put it simply, in order to silence his numerous critics on what was seen as a less then ‘spectacular performance’ vs. Tarver the first time around. Roy Jones will attempt to cement himself as the best fighter of his generation by taking a rematch with the fighter whom has given him what many experts feel was the toughest and closest fight of his career. Indeed on the night of their first fight, there were many in the arena whom were unconvinced the decision went to the appropriate fighter. So here we go again, part two of the Jones-Tarver Saga is about to begin.

Roy Jones

Roy maintains that the reason the first fight with Tarver transpired the way it did, was mainly due to his having to lose a great deal of muscle to make the light heavyweight limit. This is coming after having just fought at heavyweight in his previous fight. Given his experience and stature, most experts are taking Roy at his word rather then giving Tarver credit for what happened in their first meeting. Roy seems to be taking this second fight much more ‘personally’; he seems quite motivated to prove that the first outing was a freak occurrence. Many have speculated that Roy may possibly come out with something to prove in this rematch, and therefore be much more aggressive with Tarver then would normally be the case. He has declined interviews and concentrated on his training, basically opting to do his talking in the ring. His attitude reminds me of the stance Lennox Lewis took for his rematch with Hasim Rahman.

Antonio Tarver

Antonio Tarver believes he should have won the first fight with Jones. He attributes the fact that he did not get the decision in the first fight to Roy being a ‘house fighter’ for HBO. He definitely landed the harder punches in that first fight, and if a fight is to be scored on whom did the most damage, he certainly has a good argument. Tarver basically got the first fight by being ‘very vocal’ and calling out Roy at numerous press conferences and public appearances. For this rematch, Antonio has definitely lived up to that image and has openly berated Jones for his lackluster performance, as well as the officials for what he views as ‘shoddy’ scoring in their first bout. The first fight seems to have energized Antonio and given him more confidence, and he seems ‘out to get Roy’ this time rather then just trying to win a decision.

On Paper

The first fight basically went like this: When Roy was against the ropes; it was Antonio’s fight with power punches. In the center of the ring, Antonio basically went too defensive and stuck to fainting and ‘pawing’ while Jones peppered him from the outside to score points. In the championship rounds, it was Jones whom exhibited the ‘urgency’ while Tarver seemed to coast, and therefore it was Jones whom got the decision. Both have said that they are going to press the matter more intently in the rematch to leave no doubt as to whom is the better man. Roy Jones, as well as Tarver, are both counter-punchers for the most part. Roy is a bit more versatile and a better all around fighter, while Antonio is naturally bigger, rangier and stronger. Neither fighter is known for throwing a great number of punches each round. For this reason I expect the fight to have a somewhat slow tempo. Roy will attempt to fight mostly on the outside and in the center of the ring, while Antonio will attempt to corner Roy and land power shots since basically Roy is very elusive while on the move. Tarver is not known for a great jab, so if he is not careful he can be easily out pointed during slow moments in the fight.


I basically expect a similar fight to the first stylistically, with the exception of Roy having more energy and a higher work rate. Tarver will have his moments and basically will try to work while Roy is resting (usually against the ropes). Tarver has an uphill battle because he himself is not a volume puncher, so he is really going to have a difficult time out pointing a motivated Roy. Tarver needs to hurt Roy to win the fight. Roy has shown me a solid chin in the past (impressed me by taking a solid heavyweight punch in the first round of the Ruiz fight), and Tarver is not known for crushing one punch power. On the other hand, Roy has not typically been a ‘huge’ puncher at light heavyweight (although definitely a ‘sharp’ puncher). Most of his KO’s at this weight have come from him basically making his opponents quit, or their corners throwing in the towel. Tarver does have heart, and although he may be hurt by a counter shot at some point, I expect him to work through it. I foresee the fight going the distance unless the referee is a little quick on the trigger to stop it. I like Roy by decision, in a mostly slow paced technical fight.

Article posted on 14.05.2004

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