Antonio Tarver: ďI shocked the world when I knocked out Roy Jones, and if I get the chance to get Wladimir Klitschko in the ring Iíll do the same thingĒ

by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 153rd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former light heavyweight champion of the world ďThe Magic ManĒ Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) who is seeking a fight against reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) sometime next year. Tarver spoke about the possibility of facing Klitschko, and also discussed a wide range of topics including the Super Six Final matchup between Andre Ward and Carl Froch, a potential fourth fight with Roy Jones Junior, the California State Athletic Commission officially changing the Bernard Hopkins versus Chad Dawson result to a new contest, Abner Mares and the current state of the bantamweight division, his take on the Floyd Mayweather Junior-Manny Pacquiao situation, and more! Here is what ďThe Magic ManĒ had to say:

Regarding how soon fans can expect to see Antonio Tarver back inside the ring:

ďWell you know if I had it my way I would fight every three months. But you know, with the state of the game right now itís kind of hard. Iíve been patient. I know my man Al Haymon is working diligently to make sure that we have every opportunity to do the things that we want to do, and thatís unify the cruiserweight championship. If we canít do that then I want a shot at the heavyweight title. Iíve been really beating the bushes with that and it seems like nobody is listening, but I really, really feel like I can go up and do something great. I can get in great shape around 215 pounds and once again shock the world, and I want to do that before I retire or at least have that opportunity.Ē

On how badly he would like to face Wladimir Klitschko given the fact Klitschko expressed interest in facing Tarver on the previous weekís show:

ďWhen I set my mind and my heart to something thatís what it is. I would love to get in there with Wladimir Klitschko. In fact, he called my name out about a year ago before he took on David Haye. You know I never mentioned him until he mentioned me. So you know, itís something that I would really like to do. It doesnít matter where. My passport stays ready, and like I said, if I get that opportunity I know I have the skill to dethrone him. The guys heís fighting, theyíre defeated before they ever step in the ring. I believe in miracles. Iíve made miracles happen in my life before, and every dream Iíve ever had Iíve accomplished. So thatís just another dream of mine and I donít see, if I get that opportunity, that I can fail. I mean in order to beat me you have to hit me, and I just know with my defense and I know my high IQ in boxing. It will be the toughest fight heís ever had. It doesnít mean that Iím going to go in there and knock him out with one punch, but I will frustrate him, he will miss all night, he wonít be able to hit me, and he can put his right hand in his pocket because it will be a nonfactor. When you frustrate somebody, a big guy like that whoís not as fast as me and I know I can get inside and stay close. Heíll fight me without the arms because I wonít be on the end of his punches. Iíve said that before. People thought I was crazy. I shocked the world when I knocked out Roy Jones, and if I get the chance to get Wladimir Klitschko in the ring Iíll do the same thing.Ē

His views on whether a fight between him and Klitschko would be a big enough sell to bring heavyweight championship boxing back to the United States:

ďMost definitely! Most definitely. You know you have all of this 24/7 out there at HBO. You got 360 at Showtime. I mean this is a fight that I think both of the networks would be interested in. Like I said, when you fight ďThe Magic ManĒ you can never count me out. You can never count me out. Iím comfortable at 200 pounds and Iím comfortable at anything above 200 pounds. Itís my natural weight. Iíve been a big, big light heavyweight for years and it got to the point where I was killing myself to make that weight and by the fight night came I was starched of all my natural ability and my conditioning, particularly with Chad Dawson. There were certain things that I wasnít able to do due to the fact that I just killed myself getting down. So the best thing for me was to move up and I havenít felt this comfortable in a long, long time. Do you know what I mean? At 200 pounds itís an ideal weight for me, but 215 would be more ideal and I think I will bring the power up with me. You saw that against Danny Green. I mean the guy was never the same after I fought him. Like I said, I just know that thereís something big out there for me. I know God hasnít preserved me this well for this long just to retire without doing something unbelievably special. I just think itís in the cards for me. I think itís my purpose and itís my promise.Ē

His views on the fact that Roy Jones Junior called Tarver out to a fourth week on the previous weekís edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio stating ďTarver is on his Christmas listĒ:

ďSee that just goes to show you the man is delusional. He shouldnít be believing in Santa Claus. There ainít no Santa Claus and Roy Jones would never get that wish. Iím sure he would love to fight me again, but like I said, I donít think that fight sells and I think that fight sets me back. Iím not on the same level as Roy Jones. I think Iíve proven that over the years. I mean he still has a credible name, but I donít know how credible his name his when youíre talking about fighting a credible opponent. I think those days are behind us. It was great, the trilogy, and the history of it all, but right now Iím not trying to take any steps backwards. Iím trying to take steps forward.Ē

His views on whether Roy Jones should still be boxing and whether he believes Jones hurt his legacy following some of his more recent losses:

ďI mean I canít talk down on Roy Jones. Heís his own man. Iím sure he has his family, and loved ones, and friends that could advise him on what he should be doing. Iím not going to sit high and look low and criticize anyone, but I think Roy Jones had an unbelievable career. I mean when he was on top he did things that only people could dream about. Iím not going to be judgmental and even give an opinion on that. I reserve that for the critics.Ē

On which cruiserweights he would like to target as an opponent if he is unable to get Wladimir Klitschko inside the ring:

ďIíll be able to get him in the ring! Iíll be able to get him in the ring because heís fought every American that has a pulse. You know heís fought everybody! Heís even signed to fight Mormeck. So there is no real excuse. Itís not a size situation. Itís nothing. All we got to do is get to the drawing board and get to the table, and weíll put the fight together. Bring Klitschko back to America, because thatís where they want to be anyway and I think Iím the perfect name for that. There is not a better fighter that can promote that fight. A lot of people might think Iím crazy, but I promise you by the time itís fight night there will be some believers and Iíll make a believer out of Wladimir Klitschko. Iím not David Haye, I know I can back up what I say. Iíve knocked out bigger guys in the street so Iím not intimidated at all by Wladimir Klitschko, and Iíve seen that he has problems with southpaws and Iíve seen when people fight back heís a different type of fighter. Like I said, I donít think heíll be able to touch me with the right hand so I donít know how heíll be able to defeat me. Heíll have to get lucky and knock me out and I just donít see that happening.Ē

On whether he is interested in opponent around 200 pounds first since Wladimir is scheduled to defend his title against Jean Marc Mormeck in March:

ďWell I mean, look! If I get the opportunity to fight Wladimir Klitschko, thatís it! Thatís the end of all ends. I mean Iíll wait until March. Thatís not a problem, but definitely right now I am training for a cruiserweight fight. I would like to get back down to cruiserweight in shape, get strong, and then work my way back up and put on some good solid muscle before I go to Wladimir Klitschko. I definitely donít need a tune-up fight, because I know how to fight. I can fight in my sleep! Thatís not a problem. A tune-up fight? Thatís not necessary. I know I have the skill and the will to do what I say Iím going to do and thatís shock the world one more time! I mean there will be a lot of believers and America hasnít had a heavyweight like me in a long, long timeósomeone that can walk the walk, and talk the talk. Like I said, I just need an opportunity and thatís it! The rest will be history!Ē

His views on Danny Greenís recent loss against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk:

ďWell I mean when you look at my history, when you look at my history when they face me, when Iím on my game and when Iím touching them an laying hands on themótheyíre never the same. I mean you can go back as far as Roy Jones, Montell Griffin, you can go back to Chris Johnson, you can go back to Reggie Johnson, you can go back to Lincoln Carter, you can go back to guys like Eric Harding, you can go on and on! When I put hands on you youíre never the same fighter, because when you break your will, and you break yourself physically, and you hurt physically, and your will is brokenóyouíre never the same fighter! Thatís just the bottom line. Thatís why you got some of these young fighters out there that are shot. You got some older fighters like me that are still in theiróI wouldnít say prime, but I still can get the job done. My reflexes are still there, my timing is still there, and I can go in the gym and hit mitts and hit the bag after being off a month and everything is there. My mind is sharp. So like I said, Iím just a different breed. Iím cut from a different clothe. Iím not fighting like Bernard Hopkins and all of them other guys out here. Iím not looking for an easy way out. Iím healthy and Iím strong, and I just want to put it to work. That guy fought well but I wasnít surprised that Danny Green got knocked out, but what I was surprised at was Danny Green was winning that fight. Thatís what I was mostly surprised at. So that tells me right there that I would love to fight this guy and knock out the guy that knocked out Danny Green, just like he knocked out Roy Jones and I went in and knocked him out. My whole thing is Iím always trying to set the bar high, and I think if I did that theyíll know that thereís only one cruiserweight out there and thatís me! Iím going on record saying I will knockout any and every cruiserweight out there, because I just donít feel like theyíre going to be able to last and stand up to my power for twelve rounds. I just donít think so and thatís just how I feel. I just feel that strong at cruiserweight!Ē

His views on the California State Athletic Commission officially changing the result of Bernard Hopkins versus Chad Dawson to a No Contest and what he thought of their matchup while it lasted:

ďI mean I didnít think anything of the fight! You know I told everybody I thought Dawson would run rampant on Hopkins. I didnít think Hopkins was going to put up a fight, but to me personally I think Hopkins ducked out of the fight. You know what I mean? But Iím not a doctor. Iím not an expert, but this is fighting! This is boxing! You know you got a guy with eye shut closed, face broke, jaw brokeóthey go through the pain! At least make an attempt! The only problem I ever had with that fight, make an attempt to fight! He didnít make an attempt to fight! He tried to sell it to the world that his arm was immobile. You know thatís the thing that I have a problem with. If youíre feeling a little pain okay! At least attempt, and if you canít go on than okay, it is what it is! America would have had more respect for that rather than him laying on the canvas and it looked like he was faking an injury. You know what I mean? So thatís the whole problem with me. I had a broken jaw! I know what it feels like to fight in excruciating pain, but I didnít quit! You donít quit! Thatís why you make millions of dollars when you fight! Did he give everybody a refund? No! So I had a problem with that! You know if he would have tried to throw a punch or two, get back into the action, and then saw that he couldnít go on, then you take a knee and tap out. But you didnít even attempt! You laid on the canvas and you ducked out of the fight! Period! You had a guy that fought Cotto who had a torn ligament and he still tried to fight when his knee busted out on him. Yuri Foreman! He didnít quit! He fought with heart, and thatís what fighters do! Eric Harding back in the day when he fought Roy Jones, he tore his bicep and you could see the muscle all the way up to his shoulder! He didnít quit! He fought through! There are many examples where guys couldnít even see out of their eyes, with hemotomas on their head, and they still fough through. So thatís the problem that I have. Hopkins didnít fight through! He didnít even attempt to fight through! He didnít even attempt to fight. He quit! He laid down and he ran all the way to the bank, and itís a shame. I donít care what the California State Athletic Commission has done, because obviously somebody has got a lot of power in California, and if you ask me I think itís Golden Boy Promotion. Itís neither here nor there, but thatís what it is! Heís 46 years old. He doesnít seem like he can fight the way he used to. There ainít nobody making him fight! You know what I mean? If you canít do it anymore retire! Bottom line.Ē

His views on whether he believes Bernard Hopkins owes Daws and the fans a rematch before moving on to someone like Lucian Bute:

ďI donít know if that fight sells, though! You know what I mean? Right now Hopkins is looking to cash out and Lucian Bute is a big fight over in Canada. Heís looking to fight the biggest fight thatís available to him, and if he can make that fight that would be huge! So itís all about business. Hey! They can sell it over there but I donít know. I donít know if Hopkins back on pay-per-view, can anyone take him seriously after that fight? You know what I mean? Heís going to have to do a lot of talking. I just donít know, and I think Chad Dawson is getting the short end of the stick here because heís proven to be championship worthy. I donít know. I think Chad is getting the short end of the stick from Hopkins and I think itís politics.Ē

His views on what fans can expect in the Super Six Final showdown between Andre Ward and Carl Froch:

ďI think fans can expect a tremendous fight with two proud, proud champions, and two guys that really know whatís at stake with a victory here. You know these guys are going to lay it all on the line and I think weíre going to see fireworks. I think Andre Ward is in the best shape of his life and I think Carl Froch is the same. When you look at these guys theyíre ripped up! You can tell the focus that they have, and man! Styles make fights and I think this is a perfect style! When you look at a guy like Carl Froch that has been so multi-dimensional, he can do it all in the ring! Then you got a confident boxer/puncher/counter-puncher in Andre Ward man! You know these guys are going to have to! Itís going to be some boxing in the middle, but in the end I think theyíre going to have to go toe-to-toe and theyíre going to have to see whoís the best guyówhoís truly the best super middleweight. Whoever wins this fight, I donít know how they canít be a frontrunner for the Fighter of the Year. When you look at everything that they had to go through this year and the type of fights they had to have in the Super Six tournament. I mean I donít see anybody real close thatís had a dominant year like the winner of the Super Six. So thatís going to get my vote for Fighter of the Year.Ē

On whether he believes the winner of the Super Six could emerge as a new superstar in boxing:

ďI mean I think you really have to look at it like that, because the Super Six put it all out there man. These guys havenít had an easy road! They had to go in each otherís backyard and they had to travel abroad. Carl Froch has really made a great living here in America and I think heís won a lot of fans over with his fight against Glen Johnson. He showed a lot of heart and a lot of aggression, heís got a granite chin, heís a strong, strong fighter, and he just seems like heís getting better! Andre Ward, I mean heís an Olympic Gold Medalist! Letís not forget that! This man won the Olympic Gold for America and we havenít had one of those in a long, long time. Hey! Heís right there, a real clean cut guy that can truly transcend the sport. So Iím looking forward to the Super Six. I canít wait! Iím glad that I have the best seat in the house, and I also get to commentate for Showtime! So Iím on cloud nine about the fight, and itís going to be awesome! I just canít wait!Ē

His views on the recent bantamweight tournament, Abner Maresí rematch victory against King Kong Agbeko, and the general state of the bantamweight division:

ďOh man! The bantamweights were great man! I had a good time commentating and watching those guys grow, and also on the undercard I think a new name was born (Anselmo Moreno), a southpaw from Panama man. It was just unbelievable with his skill level and his skill set. I mean the bantamweights are a fine division right now! You got guys like the ďFilipino FlashĒ, guys like Donaire out there. I mean itís wide open for Abner Mares. Heís a young good-looking fighter that has a lot of heart. In every fight he has to go through adversity, and heís won over a lot of fans. He has California as his home. Heís an American-Mexican so he has a big window out there of opportunity and his upside is endless. You got De La Hoya giving him guidance and leading him in the right direction. So we can look forward to Abner Mares in more bigger and bigger fights, and the guy is not afraid to fight anyone so Iím excited about his future.Ē

On whether he believes we are any closer to seeing the big mega bout between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Manny Pacquiao:

ďI think so. I think so. Sometimes when a fighter doesnít look his all best, it gives the other fighter I would say a sense of security. I wouldnít say a false sense of security, because Mayweather is a great fighter and he can beat anybody on any given day. He has beaten everybody heís ever faced. Heís undefeated and what more can you say? But when a fighter doesnít look great and you can see yourself in there doing certain things to the guy, then it gives you a sense of security. Hey! I can beat this guy, maybe more so now then when he knocked out Hatton and with the things he did to De La Hoya. Sometimes youíre looking at this guy like wow! Is this guy really that strong, especially after what he did to Margarito. So you know he may have had some reservations, but now that he had another lackluster performance against Marquez and a lot of people felt that he could have came up on the wrong end of that decision. Floyd may be thinking hey, the time is now! Iíve talked to Floyd, and Floyd says hey heís ready! You know heís ready! Take the test and we got the right, but Floydís really concerned about Pacquiao being on steroids. So thatís just something that theyíre going to have to get over and overcome by making him feel like everything is fair, the playing field is fair, and they got a fight. So I think Floyd is ready now, and I think hopefully by the end of next year weíll see that fight materialize. I mean hey, thatís another giant fight but I just donít want it to lose the luster. I think two or three fights ago it would have been at its all time peak, but right now people are wondering. Another bad showing by either guy or a controversial showing by either guy, and the fight could be less marketable than it is today.Ē

His views on whether Amir Khanís loss against Lamont Peterson might put a fight between Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley in jeopardy:

ďYou know thatís unfortunate that he lost his title and that big fight went out the window. But I mean Iím sure heíll bounce back because he has a big fan base and thatís the key. You know they will probably still wind up getting that fight on eventually, but it will probably have to wait until the end of next year.Ē

Regarding how disappointed he would be if he does not get the big opportunity he seeks with heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2012:

ďWell Iím going to have to keep grinding. You know what Iím saying? Iím going to have to just keep knocking people out and eventually theyíll get the picture. So Iím not going to stop because itís delayed, but Iím not going to quit until I get my opportunity. I feel like I deserve it. Iím the biggest name in America right now competing even remotely near the heavyweight division. So thatís what itís all aboutóname recognition. Like I said I made believers out of non-believers before, and thatís what itís about. I donít mind going in as the underdog. I went over to Australia as the underdog. I donít know who was making those odds, but we flipped them again. Just when they think they got me counted out I always rise to the top. Thatís just the way it is.Ē


For those interested in listening to the Antonio Tarver interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and forty-five minutes into the program.



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Article posted on 17.12.2011

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