Tarver Gets First Win as Heavyweight; Shawn Porter Draws Blood

By John G. Thompson: Calling it “Showtime: The New Generation” might be a little inaccurate when the main event features a former three time world champion who turns forty-two next month. Never-the-less, Antonio “The Magic Man” Tarver 28-6 (19 KO’s), who has been a growing fixture on Showtime as an announcer, headlined the card inside the ring. Making his debut in the heavyweight division, Tarver faced a natural heavyweight in Nagy Aguilera 16-5 (11 KO’s). In a more apt reflection of the cable network’s title, Shawn “Showtime” Porter 17-0 (13 KO’s) won a minor welterweight belt in stopping the durably persistent Hector Munoz 18-4-1 (11 KO’s). The event was promoted by Gary Shaw at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma.

This writer questioned what Munoz had done to deserve fighting on a nationally televised card. He lost his last fight earlier this year. He did not fight at all in 2009. In 2008 he split a win, a draw and a loss. He had no fights in 2007. That being said, Munoz showed enough heart to make him an attraction. He kept coming forward, he threw punches, and he continued to fight with blood pouring down his face throughout half the bout, even though he was thoroughly outclassed.

The cut on Munoz’s head came in the fifth round after an accidental headbutt. The cut was high up on his right forehead near the hair line. Cuts in this location tend to bleed, and this was no exception, gushing from that point on. Another accidental headbutt in the seventh round opened a second cut on the left forehead of Munoz, and this one also gushed. Regardless, Porter dominated the fight from start to finish, winning every round with superior speed and ring movement until the ninth, when he turned up the pressure. He backed up Munoz and landed everything in the arsenal with Munoz’s back to the ropes, until referee Gary Ritter jumped in to stop it. Porter looks tremendous at this weight class, having recently moved down from junior welterweight where he competed with boxers with significant height and reach advantages.

Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver made his ring return in the heavyweight division after almost a year and half layoff. Perhaps Tarver should have remained at heavyweight back in 2006, following his role as Mason Dixon on “Rocky VI.” He certainly would not have suffered an embarrassing loss to Bernard Hopkins after trying to drop the weight. Tarver’s forty-some year old body gave out on him in this fight, however, as he clearly suffered an injury to his left shoulder early in the fight. Being a southpaw, this drastically changed the game plan for Tarver, though fortunately for him Aguilera did not possess the skill set or the aggression to take advantage of the situation.

The best action would come when Tarver backed Aguilera into a corner and they would exchange, usually with Tarver landing the cleaner, harder shots. Aguilera would sometimes go on the offensive, though he missed almost everything he threw. Also, Tarver landed a few beautiful left uppercuts throughout the bout, despite his injury. Aguilera brought the aggression in the tenth round, however, it was too little too late.

It’s hard to judge Tarver’s heavyweight potential based on this performance. On one hand he was hindered by an injury. On the other, a forty-plus year old fighter coming off a long layoff is going to get injuries. What is certain is that despite the injury, Tarver’s skill allowed him to win a clear cut victory (all three judges scored it 98-92) over a non top-ten contender. Before we know if Tarver has any shot at a heavyweight championship he needs to stay in the gym, stay active, and take on a more challenging opponent. Tarver himself said as much in the post-fight interview. He also seemed surprised that he didn’t have the power to stop Aguilera. In the pre-fight buildup, Tarver stated that, “if I can put a dent in those big boys, I’ll be the next heavyweight champion.” He failed to put a dent in Nagy Aguilera. If Tarver does not take his own advice about getting back in the gym he might as well stick to commentating.

In other action, Anthony Dirrell 20-0 (17 KO’s), the younger brother of Andre Dirrell, stopped Daryl Salmon 16-6 (4 KO's) in the third round. Lateef Kayode 14-0 (13 KO’s) stopped Epifanio Mendoza 30-10-1 (26 KO’s) in five. And Ronald Hearns 26-1 (20 KO’s), son of boxing legend Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, stopped Robert Kliewer 10-12-2 (5 KO’s) in the sixth.

As always you can reach me at

Article posted on 16.10.2010

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