Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?
He had a stellar amateur career. I posted this a few years ago, makes for an interesting read and I'm sure will fit into this thread. Just a few quotes taken from an article on Tarver in the May 1996 issue of Boxing Monthly:
Tarver recalls the fight well (amateur fight with Roy Jones Jr). "As I remember," he says, "the first round I won clearly. At that age (Tarver was 13, and had run up a 32-2 record) I had never been tested in any way. I didn't have any competition. I was State champion at that time and I was just overpowering most of my opponents. He was the first to test me. In the first round, I had no respect for him and I took it to him. The second round was more competitive and I could see he had a lot of skill. In the end he won a close decision."
Soon after this, Tarver's family moved to Orlando where the nearest gym was 25 miles away, so the young Tarver took to other sports and pursuits leaving his undoubted boxing talent in the locker room. That is until Jones cropped up once more in Tarver's life, this time to inspire him. "When I saw him make it all the way to the Olympics in Seoul in '88, and seeing that terrible, disputed decision he lost in the final, something hit me," says Tarver. "He re-inspired me to pursue my boxing career....I can remember getting off that couch and running three miles as soon as the fight was finished."
Tarver's tangle with Jones dates him somewhat for a 1996 Olympian. It makes him 27. Shouldn't he have turned pro by now? "Listen," he says earnestly. "Going to the Olympics is a chance of a lifetime for anybody at any age. I would never pass it up. Knowing boxing as I do, I knew the opportunity as a professional wouldn't be there for me unless I had a very good, a great amateur career. Hey I didn't want to be just another black fighter. Anybody can do that. We can all put on a pair of gloves and swing it out. But I wanted to be something exceptional. I had, and I have, dreams of becoming a world champion."
Since his loss to Roy Jones in the amateurs, he has only lost 4 more times and compiled an astonishing 130-7 amateur record and looks ahead to the Olympics as he tries to capture the gold medal which he has been tipped to win.