Tarver vs BANKs delayed
Update: The fight with Johnathon Banks as part of the Golden Boy Live card set for September 29th is now pushed off, because Antonio Tarver broke his thumb. According to Tarver, “The injury actually happened 2½ weeks ago, and I’ve been trying my hardest to work through it. Finally my doctor ordered an X-ray, and we found out it was a fracture.”
Antonio Tarver is most known for his stunning 2004 Vegas knockout of Roy Jones Jr – back when Jones was considered to be the best in the world. And then, if it wasn’t clear enough, Tarver beat Jones a year later. It can certainly be argued as to whether or not Tarver’s victories were because of Tarver’s talent, or the rapid collapse of Jones after he so thoroughly dominated the 90′s.
The problem with Tarver’s career, however, is that he tapered off with big losses to Glen Johnson, Bernard Hopkins, and Chad Dawson (consecutive). The Hopkins loss can be excused, because no one was beating Hopkins back then, however, Tarver never really recovered from the back to back losses to Dawson. Those consecutive losses essentially pushed Tarver out of the discussion for any sort of mention in who the best boxers might be. The true tipping point for Tarver, unfortunately involved much more murky circumstances: After fighting Lateef Kayode to a draw in June 2012, it was changed to a no decision because Tarver tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone. That led to a suspension which caused Tarver not to fight until 17 months later, when he got a shot at journeyman Mike Sheppard as a heavyweight. Tarver knocked out Sheppard in the fourth round for the victory.
“This fight with Banks will tell me if I have the ability at 45 to truly make a run and conceivably fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. My quest starts with a tough fight. Banks is a guy raised in the sport. He can box. He has skills. But it’s a challenge I got to step up to. I want this type of fight. I need to realize if I can do it. I believe I can. This fight is a step closer for me.”
Unfortunately, Tarver is going to have to wait a bit to resume his quest to be a champion. At least until his thumb heals. For better or for worse, Tarver is continuing a trend that we’ve seen of many boxers: Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr, and many others – former stars who can’t seem to walk away, and always desire that one final shot at glory. I don’t know if Tarver’s knockout of Sheppard if really indicative of anything. But if he can pull together a couple more victories, maybe he can indeed get that final shot.
In the meantime, Tarver will have to enjoy watching his son, Antonio Tarver Jr, make his professional debut at age 26 with a four round fight. Tarver Jr’s fight will serve as the undercard for the 10 round bout between junior featherweight Joseph Diaz (11-0, 7 KOs), and Mexico’s Raul Hidalgo (22-11, 16 KOs) to be televised on Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes.