Tarvers Punch is As Big as His Chip

06.06.06 - By Mike Casile: When you ask Antonio Tarver who the best light heavyweight in the world is, he will tell you hands down it is him. Roy Jones was seemingly invincible until he met Tarver. Roy was never the same fighter again, regardless of the decision. It is just like that sometimes. After Bowe met Holyfield, he was never the same fighter and Although Trinidad beat De La Hoya, after that fight, Trinidad seemed like Oscar had taken something from him, and was never really the same in the ring. From what I can see, some guys are not the same fighters after facing Tarver.

Tarver is one of those guys who feels betrayed, annoyed, even paranoid about how the media and the boxing world in general treats his talent and abilities, and how they seem to disrespect his accomplishments. An HBO golden boy he is not. I really do not want to give Tarver anymore paranoid delusions than he already has, but I agree about some of the disrespect he has received from the cable channels that carry his fights..

Let’s face it, if Oscar De La Hoya had beaten the pound for pound best fighter in the world not once, but twice, and knocking him out cold in one of those bouts, Jim Lampley would have been doing cartwheels across the ring with Larry Merchant, lest we forget De La Hoya/Chavez. It seemed as if there was a quiet disdain for Tarver from the beginning.

Larry Merchant even made a statement to Tarver in the ring after Tarver put Jones to sleep, that somehow diminished Tarver’s win. Tarver said “If you beat the best in the world, don’t you become the best in the world?”, and Merchant replied. “Just because a golfer beats Tiger woods on a given day, doesn’t make him better than Tiger.” I do not think a statement like that would ever be made in the presence of a De La Hoya, or a Mayweather, but it seemed totally appropriate for Tarver and by his actions and demeanor, it really bothered Tarver.

I picked Tarver to win all three Jones bouts, which I think he clearly did, I think the first bout was a parting gift to Jones. I thought he would destroy a tough Glen Johnson, which I thought he clearly did as well. But when you look at the Hopkins fight, you have to ask a very important question, who is hungry? Who needs to still get respect? Who has a bigger chip? I think the answer to these questions is Tarver. I think he will easily dismantle the surprisingly close in age, Hopkins for an easy decision. Hopkins knows how to stay away from punchers, he made a living staying away, and waiting for the right punch, the only problem is, his lifetime as a middleweight will be his real opponent June 10th. If Roy Jones power could not knock the chip off Tarver’s shoulders, I do not believe a 41 year old Hopkins has a chance of even moving it.

Article posted on 07.06.2006

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