01.06.04 – By Frank Lotierzo – GlovedFist@Juno.com – It’s recently been reported that former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson wants to fight current Light Heavyweight Champ Antonio Tarver. In fact, it’s also been written that Tarver is more than willing to oblige Tyson. I say great move for Tyson, and horrible move for Tarver. The only way this fight makes any sense for Tarver is if he gets a pile of money so high that he’ll injure himself jumping off of it. Which quite possibly may be the case. If that’s the case, than Tarver has to take it, but only under that scenario.
Tyson has said that he’ll show Jones how it should’ve been done, “in one round”. This would be a tremendous opportunity for Tyson to get back in the main after being a non factor since being stopped by Lennox Lewis in June of 2002. Just listening to Tyson’s tone tells me all I need to know about how this fight will Turn out? It will be a sensational knockout win for him, and in all likelihood it will be a quick one too.
Since knocking out Roy Jones in two rounds, Antonio Tarver is the talk of the Boxing Universe. As he should be! However, Mike Tyson is still the biggest name in boxing, bigger than Jones, Klitschko, De La Hoya or anybody else. He has been since he won the title in 1986, and will continue to be until he is totally shot and not capable of scoring fast and spectacular knockouts. Although Tyson has eroded, it isn’t to the point yet where he is not capable of literally going through fringe contenders and Champions smaller than him.
For the last eighteen years I’ve been a stern critic of Mike Tyson as far as where he ranks among the greatest of the greats in Heavyweight history. In my opinion it’s his mental makeup and lack of character when pushed in a fight that is give and take that separates him from other legendary Champions. I just don’t think he is or was tough enough to beat histories greatest Heavyweight Champs. Remember, that’s not a slight on his skills. When it comes to skill, Tyson is one of the great Heavyweight’s in history. It’s just that skill does not always win out and fights are decided in the ring. Not on paper or by who looks the best and most impressive hitting the speed and heavy bags.
However, there is one thing I know for sure about Mike Tyson. That is the fact that when he is confident and does not respect or have any fear of his opponent, he is one formidable force who won’t be defeated. When Tyson really believes deep down within that his opponent has nothing he should worry about physically or mentally, he is the ultimate warrior and it becomes nearly impossible for that foe to deter him or convince him that he can’t win.
Tyson respects skill, (Ali, Holmes, Lewis type) big punchers, (Foreman, Tua,) and toughness, (on the level of Ali, Holyfield, and Foreman). On top of that Tyson knows styles and knows the huge factor they play in deciding how a fight will unfold. That’s why I say Tarver better get paid if he takes a fight with Tyson, because he’s most likely going to be stopped in a devastating fashion. This would be bad for Tarver in the fact that he is at the peak of his career. His mark at 175 is throwing one big left hand that put Roy Jones to sleep. Yes, that is some accomplishment, but it does not establish him as a legendary Champ. At least not in my view. Tarver must defend the title and probably has to beat Jones again. This way he’ll show that he was more than just a fighter who could fight Roy Jones?
I have no doubt that when Tyson sees Antonio Tarver, he has visions of getting back on top. I really think that Tyson looks at Tarver as a meal that he can gobble up quickly. And at the same time get paid big dollars while repositioning himself for a major fight. Tyson has to look at Tarver and think to himself, what does this guy have to beat me?
Tyson has to know that Tarver has no where near the punch that could either hurt him or keep him off. He must think in his mind that Douglas, Holyfield, and Lewis pounded on me for at least eight rounds before I was slowed or stopped. What can Tarver do to me? On top of that Tarver isn’t nearly strong enough to keep Tyson off of him and tracking him down. Once Tyson has Tarver cornered and against the ropes, how much could he take. Basically, Tarver just isn’t strong enough to box Tyson, and has no chance at all if he fights him.
Look what Tyson has down to tall and long fighters who didn’t have a strong physical body to withstand his power, and we all know that he can still punch. I just don’t see any way Tarver has the guns needed to be around late in a fight with Tyson to give himself a shot. Because we all know he’s not going to stop Tyson or put him down.
That being said, the biggest problem Tarver has versus Tyson, is Tyson’s belief that he couldn’t lose to Tarver even if he was on his death bed. I have not a morsel of a doubt in my mind that Tyson would be so confident and motivated in a fight with Tarver, that Tarver would need to hit him with the Ring post just in order to make him think that he was in a fight. I say Antonio should go back and yell for Jones. Antonio can probably humiliate Jones into fighting him again. We now know that Tarver can beat Jones and erase all doubt while going up 2-1 in their trilogy. I say that’s the route to take for Tarver. He doesn’t need Tyson. Let Tyson fight an established upper tier Heavyweight to reestablish himself, because I can’t see him losing to a smaller fighter like Tarver. Only if the money is astronomical should Tarver fight Tyson.