Why Antonio Tarver Must Win Against Chad Dawson May 9

Chad DawsonBy Derek Kelley - Antonio Tarver has been on top of the world more than just a couple times in the ring. Tarver was able to play Mason Dixon, the world heavyweight champion, in the critically acclaimed film ďRocky BalboaĒ. Tarver had the honor of being in a Rocky film and the fame and recognition that came with it. But what he did in the ring is what impressed us boxing fans the most. The stunning 2nd round KO of Roy Jones Jr. in their rematch that won him the World Light Heavyweight Title was TarverĎs career-defining moment.. But it was more than just winning the World Light Heavyweight Title, it was dethroning a legend and a pound for pound king.

And Roy Jones Jr.ís career has never been the same since then. Roy has gone on to lose fights more often than most fans would ever expect. Even before Antonio Tarverís first fight with Roy Jones Jr., which he lost by a close majority decision, Tarver had notable wins over Reggie Johnson, Montell Griffin(Tarver won WBC Light Heavyweight title in this fight), and Eric Harding(avenging a past loss).

Antonio Tarver had early struggles in his career like his first career loss to Eric Harding and his loss in the first fight with Roy Jones Jr. But he avenged both those defeats and when he did that against Roy Jones Jr. he was on top of the boxing world for the time being. A lot of fans were skeptical of Roy Jones Jr. slipping in age and skill at the time of the Tarver win, but the way it happened was shocking and sent a message to boxing fans and boxers alike.

But Antonio Tarver would not have the long string of successful title defenses like Roy Jones Jr. had in his career. Instead Tarver would lose to the hard-working volume puncher Glen Johnson by split decision in his first title defense of his newly won World Light Heavyweight title.

Tarver would have a rematch with Glen Johnson in his next fight. Despite there being a bump in the road for Tarver, he overcame it and won his rematch with Glen Johnson by Unanimous Decision and the World Light Heavyweight Title. Once again he had avenged all his career losses and things were looking up. A third fight with Roy Jones Jr. occurred for the World Light Heavyweight Title with Tarver winning it by Unanimous Decision. This allowed Antonio Tarver to get in a position of seeking more mega fights. And it would be the last time Antonio Tarver was on top of the boxing world. A fight with World Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins materialized, and it would be for Tarverís World Light Heavyweight Title. Bernard Hopkins dominated Antonio Tarver, knocking him down in the process, and it was clearly Tarverís worst loss.

Antonio Tarver was able to bounce back with a couple wins after the Hopkins fight before winning the IBF World Light Heavyweight Title against Clinton Woods by Unanimous Decision. But the fight with Bernard Hopkins would be the last mega fight Tarver would be in. Next Tarver would fight rising undefeated star Chad Dawson for Tarverís newly won IBF title. Dawson clearly beat Tarver by Unanimous Decision. Now Antonio Tarver is looking like heís not quite the best anymore at Light Heavyweight, much less being on top of the boxing world. But Tarver is given a 2nd chance in a rematch that he must come prepared to adjust and to make it a war.

At 40 years old, Antonio Tarver isnít getting any younger and his career has gone downhill despite some success ever since the second win over Roy Jones Jr. Antonio Tarver is still a good name, and thatís why I think Chad Dawson went for the rematch. That and Dawson probably had no better opponent to fight, and two wins over a big name like Antonio Tarver looks good in his resume. The first fight between Dawson and Tarver was a clear decision win for Dawson. Dawson dominated the fight at times with Tarver only having his moments. And usually fights like Dawson-Tarver donít warrant rematches. I believe this rematch is undeserving for Antonio Tarver after what happened in the first fight. But Tarver is getting another 2nd chance, much like the ones he was given in the Eric Harding, Glen Johnson and Roy Jones Jr. rematches. And if Tarver has anything left from those fights, heíll come out firing and do enough to win. Tarver has to negate Dawsonís work rate and do more than be successful in moments like in the first fight.

Tarver has to get his jab going early and be able to land the left hand on a regular basis. If Tarver can keep up a good work rate and go to war at times with Dawson he can be successful in the rematch. But if Tarver goes through the motions and shows no hunger he will once again lose. This is Antonio Tarverís chance to prove that heís not just a fighter that cashed in on Roy Jones Jr. slipping in age and skills but that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the boxing world. Winning the IBF title after the Hopkins loss was a good start on Tarver trying to come back to form, but the Dawson loss quickly erased that. The Dawson-Tarver fight on May 9 will show what Antonio Tarver has left. If Tarver wins heís back on top and has put himself in position for more big fights. If Tarver loses he will be viewed as past his prime and not the factor he used to be. Itís do or die for Antonio Tarver, and if he doesnít put up a good competitive fight against Dawson then his career will likely lack big fights from here on out and his status as an elite Light Heavyweight will be gone. Iím predicting another dominant win for Chad Dawson by ay of Unanimous Decision but if Antonio Tarver wins he will have his career back on track.

Article posted on 29.04.2009

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