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Old 05-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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Default Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Let's take a critical look at his career...

I think Tarver may well be an underrated fighter by boxing fans and theres an interesting pattern that develops in a few of his key fights.

Eric Harding. Eric Harding was a good fighter man. As I remember he was giving Roy all he could handle for 8 rounds with a torn bicep, so this loss really isn't as bad as it appears and Tarver is the only man to ever put him down and out in the rematch.

If you take the Roy Jones he fought the first time, that Roy Jones is no way near as bad as people assume. The Ruiz weight gain affected him, certainly, but how badly? Roy's balance is out of sync compared to his hey days, but lets be serious, although this was the beginning of the end of 'Superman' Roy, his balance is not as good, he's a little more sluggish. But, he still has his legs. They're declining, but they're still good enough in tandem with his handspeed to ensure he's a serious proposition, he's not just a shell with ear muffs on that throws an occasional flurry that reminds of yesteryear. It's still a far cry from what he developed into over the next few years. I do feel like people just lump this Roy in with the one that lost in the rematch, and got starched by Glencoffe, and then continued his downward spiral into the corpse we see before us today doing caricature routines on Russian TV. It's very easy to do that and just say that he was extremely bad as theres a very simple logical step to that conclusion > the weight gain and what came after. I re watched this and its a high quality fight that Roy deserved to win but he had trouble doing it.

Not much needs to be said about the rematch, except to say, Tarver put him away decisively for the first time.

Then take a look at his fight vs Glencoffe Johnson I. Against a Glen coming off good performances vs Woods. There is no way Tarver lost this fight, which just goes to show for all the Road Warrior's bleating about decisions he's had one go his way he ought not to. I scored this 8-4 for Tarver. Tarver throws over 800 punches in this fight, theres not a clinch in it (its a surprisingly good fight which is one in the eye for the critics of Tarver as being boring). He lands the cleaner blows throughout, his better defence makes the difference, he lands the left at will and hurts Glen in the 12th.

In the rematch, Tarver does something which I consider to be the sign of a really good counterpuncher. He beats a good pressure fighter even clearer in the rematch dominating the early rounds.

Antonio Tarver does well in rematches, and is an adaptable fighter so long as the styles are not ridiculously skewed.

It would be remiss of me not to mention some of the poor performances, though I do think there are extenuating circumstances. That is probably one of Hopkins best victories and performance. Hopkins completely nullifies him and Tarver really doesn't have the style to beat Bernard if you consider his skillset. You've got 2 counterpunchers, but really Antonio doesn't possess a potent jab. Nor is he the most adept at being aggressive, and lacks real speed so once Hopkins begins outjabbing him, lunging in and fiddling him around its difficult to find an antidote if you have Tarver's skillset. Chad Dawson is another one thats outrageously wrong for him with the kind of handspeed and outfighting ability he has. Tarver isn't the kind of guy to push a guy like Chad off his game.

A few things to consider: Tarver did all of this in his mid 30's, and looks like he still may be going on strong at 43 years old. What would a victory over Lateef Kayode do for his status? I know Lateef and Danny Green ain't the best, but it would surely still be seriously impressive stuff.

Tarver has never really been beaten up, never stopped, earnt some good wins, and his record requires a lot more analysis than a simple look at Boxrec IMO. I've a feeling he may go down as one of those fighters whos record is aesthetically unimpressive but requires deeper analysis. And he's a damn good commentator too.

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Old 05-09-2012, 07:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Oh, and I welcome technical dissection of Tarver. Pretty unique style.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Really good thread

I think he probably gets the recognition he deserves though in fairness. He certainly wasn't ever a great but at his best is a very smart technical boxer with a few great fights to watch back. Even recently against Danny Green, he was a joy to watch.

And I also love listening to him in commentary.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Roy was still prime when Tarver KO'd him, and I give Tarver all the credit in the world for that shot. Perfect timing and placement. That shot ended Roy Jones' career at top level.

but he's still at best a B- level guy. Got outboxed by Harding, and then was getting outboxed again before he KO'd him. Glen Johnson. I thought the 1st fight was a draw, and he clearly won the 2nd, but for a guy who was P4P rated, he shouldn't struggle with a guy like Glen Johnson.

Tarver didn't turn pro until he was 28, so there isn't as much wear and tear as age 43 might suggest.

All in all, he was solid, but never great.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

A natural talent, A enigma so to speak. A guy taking drugs and selling i think? in his 20's to swing his life around and be one of the best technicians in game even now says a lot about him as a fighter.

A former world amateur champion as well, Guy's commentary says a lot about his boxing brain.

I think a win of Kayode doesn't say massive amounts but it keeps him in the game and could well put him in with another champion at Cruiserweight. I'd love to see him fight Huck..
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Eric Harding is ridiculously underrated too, that is a good victory for Tarver. Far better fighter than the likes of Shumenov, Cloud etc knocking around today and highlights what a smart fighter Tarver was that could make slight adjustments. Watch the Harding/Jones fight.

Clinton Woods a B- fighter admittedly, looked a total clown against Tarver.

Add to what should have been 2 clear wins against Johnson in my eyes who was far better then at light heavyweight than he has been recently at 168.

Combined with his longevity.

This is why I think it was silly that people, myself included, never gave him his dues until he beat Danny Green of all people.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Harding's style is incredibly difficult to fight, and Tarver never really adjusted. He just landed a bomb.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Beating Kayode isn't so much in itself, maybe. Although thats still a tough proposition at this stage.

It's taking on young, undefeated, pretty hard punching cruisers at 43 thats creditable.

What do people make of his punching technique? Tarver must have seriously heavy hands because he seems to stun Glen Johnson with random, weird punches. There isn't really a transition into a lot of those shots but he has enough to knock him onto his heels consistently. One thing I do say though is he wastes his stance a lot. He uses the awkwardness of it but to not use an effective southpaw jab is kind of criminal. Not even a bit. All he thinks about is feinting it for a left hand, its not a weapon in itself.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

"He's the only old fighter still knocking guys out"......
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

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Originally Posted by Primadonna Kool View Post
"He's the old fighter still knocking guys out"......
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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Default 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.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Does Antonio 'Magic Man' Tarver deserve more respect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosaros View Post
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.
I was enjoying reading that, where the rest of the article...?
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