Antonio Tarver wins Cruiserweight Title by defeating Danny Green

When Antonio "the Magic Man" Tarver (R) first got into broadcasting, he was so fortunate to have some of the top co-anchors in the business working with him. At first he had Steve Farhood (Left) and Nick Charles assist him. After Nick Charles passed on, Curt Menefee (Center) joined the broadcast team. Photo: Jim Wyatt

When you talk about changes in a person’s life, Antonio Tarver has gone through more changes than most anyone. Last night, at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia, Tarver, who’s making his third comeback, scored a TKO victory over Danny Green by destroying the former IBO cruiserweight champion after nine rounds. At the close of the ninth Green was saved by the bell, and then in between rounds his corner decided to throw in the towel. Tarver was winning on all scorecards at the time of the stoppage. This being Tarver’s biggest win since making his comeback, it gives his boxing career a new sense of legitimacy. If he so chooses, there are now a number of intriguing match-ups he could pursue.


Antonio Tarver (R) stays just out of range of Danny Green's punches.

According to Green’s publicist, the Aussie had been on a tear and hadn’t lost since May of 2006. He scored a shocking first round KO of Roy Jones Jr., defeated B. J. Flores and then was involved in that controversial affair with Paul Briggs. It appeared to most ringsiders that Briggs had taken a dive in round one. Then Green took time off after being diagnosed with a serious illness that not only threatened his boxing career but his life. When cleared to fight, it’s possible he never fully recovered. Green falls to 31-4-0 with 27 KOs, while Tarver improves to 29-6-0 with 20 KOs.

Now for a look at those ups and downs in Antonio Tarver’s life. He was born November 21, 1968 and had a very impressive amateur career which included winning a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He also captured the world title at the 1955 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Berlin.

In 1997, he made his pro debut at the age of 28, with a second-round knockout of Joaquin Garcia at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia. He went on to win his first 16 fights,14 by knockout, suffering only one loss, a unanimous decision loss to Eric Harding in 2000 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He rebounded from that defeat with six straight wins, including a knockout of Harding in their rematch.

On April 26, 2003, Tarver received his first title shot, when he faced former world champion Montel Griffin for the world light-heavyweight title vacated by Roy Jones Jr., who had gone on to beat John Ruiz for the WBA world heavyweight title. After dropping Griffin in the first and last rounds, Tarver was crowned world champion.

At the end of his battle with Danny Green, Antonio Tarver acknowledges his supporters.

Given little chance of beating the former champion, Tarver took Jones the distance but lost the fight. Tarver later recovered the world title by knocking Jones out in their rematch. In the eyes of the public, it wasn’t as shocking that Tarver had beaten Jones as it was he had knocked him out; in 50 previous fights, Jones had never lost a fight by knockout.

Eight days before the match, Tarver filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Assuming creditors would accept his proposed debt repayment plan before the fight, all Tarver’s previous debts would have been discharged, and the $2 million dollar purse from the win would have been his, free and clear.

After his rematch win over Jones, Tarver became a mainstream celebrity, and made appearances on late-night talk shows, appeared on the cover of boxing magazines, and cohosted a telecast of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights.”

In 2004, the WBC stripped Tarver of his world title after he decided not to fight their mandatory challenger, instead choosing to fight the IBF world champion Glencoffe Johnson on December 18, in nearby Temecula, CA. Interestingly, Johnson himself had been stripped of his crown just before the bout for not fighting his mandatory challenger. Both fighters were celebrated for their decision to fight each other rather than bow to the pressure of what had become known as “The Alphabet Soup” sanctioning bodies. Instead, Tarver and Johnson, who most believed to be the two top fighters in the division, fought. Tarver, considered the favorite to win, suffered a loss by way of a split decision in a fight he did not appear to be in top shape. Tarver avenged the loss six months later with an unanimous decision over Johnson.

On October 1, 2005, in his third fight with Roy Jones Jr., Tarver won an unanimous decision almost knocking Jones out in the 11th round but also finding himself in trouble. It was about this time, that Tarver got a little full of himself and starred in the movie Rocky Balboa. In the movie he played heavyweight champion Mason “The Line” Dixon a sinister character.

On June 10, 2006, Tarver faced former Undisputed Middleweight Champ Bernard Hopkins for Tarver’s light-heavyweight title. Hopkins, a 3-to-1 underdog, dominated and won by an unanimous decision. Tarver was knocked down in the 5th round. As a result of a clause in their contract, Tarver was forced to pay $250,000 to a charity of Hopkins’ choice since he did not knock Hopkins out before the fifth round. Tarver returned to the ring nearly one year after that loss to defeat Elvir Muriqi, then Danny Santiago and then Clinton Woods.

The original broadcast team included, (left to right) Steve Farhood, Nick Charles (who recently lost his battle with cancer) and Antonio Tarver. Photo: Jim Wyatt

On October 11, 2008, Tarver faced rising star Chad Dawson for Tarver’s IBF and IBO belts. Tarver lost the fight via unanimous decision. With the loss, it was speculated that he would retire; instead he announced he and Dawson would meet again on March 14, 2009. Their fight had to be postponed due to an injury suffered by Dawson. Finally, in early May, they met and Tarver, who came into the fight as a 5 to 1 underdog, lost by unanimous decision.

After his loss to Dawson, Tarver served as a boxing analyst for Showtime Championship Boxing before returning in October of last year to defeat Nagy Aguilera by unanimous decision in a bout that took place at the heavyweight limit. For this fight Tarver officially weighed 221 pounds, 46 more than his weight for the Dawson rematch.

So there you have it; an amazing life that’s had so many ups and downs.


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