Antonio Tarver

Antonio Deon Tarver (born November 21, 1968) is an American former professional boxer and boxing commentator. In boxing he competed from 1997 to 2015, and held multiple light heavyweight world championships, including the WBA (Unified), WBC, IBF and Ring magazine titles, as well as the IBO light heavyweight and cruiserweight titles.

Antonio Tarver
AntonioTarverRaiseJuly2011.jpg
Tarver with the IBO title, 2011
Statistics
Real nameAntonio Deon Tarver
Nickname(s)The Magic Man
Weight(s)
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)[1]
Reach75 in (191 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born (1968-11-21) November 21, 1968 (age 53)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
StanceSouthpaw
Boxing record
Total fights39
Wins31
Wins by KO22
Losses6
Draws1
No contests1

As an amateur, Tarver represented the United States at the 1996 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the light heavyweight division; he eventually lost to Vassiliy Jirov from Kazakhstan, whom he had previously defeated at the 1995 World Championships to win gold. Tarver also triumphed at the 1995 Pan American Games and 1995 U.S. National Championships, winning gold in both. He remains the only boxer in history to have won gold at the Pan Am Games, World Championships and U.S. Nationals all in the same year.[2]

Outside of boxing, Tarver starred as Mason "The Line" Dixon, the heavyweight champion in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa.

Amateur careerEdit

  • 1993 and 1995 United States amateur Light Heavyweight champion.
  • 1994 National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight champion
  • Won the Light Heavyweight bronze medal for the United States at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His results were:
  • Defeated Dmitry Vybornov (Russia) 5–2
  • Defeated David Kowah (Sierra Leone) RSC 1 (2:43)
  • Defeated Enrique Flores (Puerto Rico) RSC 3 (1:54)
  • Lost to Vassiliy Jirov (Kazakhstan) 9–15

Professional careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Tarver made his professional debut at the age of 28 on February 18, 1997, with a second-round knockout of Joaquin Garcia at the legendary "Blue Horizon" in Philadelphia.

Tarver won his first 16 fights, 14 by knockout, before stepping up his level of competition. After taking most of his first 16 fights in either his native Florida or at the "Blue Horizon", for his 11th fight he met veteran Rocky Gannon in Chester, West Virginia, on August 30, 1998. Tarver knocked out Gannon in the second round.

On February 29, 2000, Tarver scored a knockout against Ernest M-16 Mateen in Las Vegas. Later that year, Tarver suffered his first loss when he was knocked down in the 11th round by Eric Harding, en route to a unanimous decision on June 23 in Biloxi, Mississippi. This was an IBF title elimination bout, where the winner would face Roy Jones Jr.

In 2002, Tarver defeated former two-weight world champion Reggie Johnson by split decision to win the NABF & USBA light-heavyweight titles, and a guaranteed title shot at Roy Jones. He then scored a fifth round stoppage over Harding in a rematch that was on the undercard of the rematch between Shane Mosely and Vernon Forrest. Tarver was trailing on the scorecards until the 4th round, when he sent Harding to the canvas with a barrage of unanswered power shots; Harding was also floored twice in the 5th round, leading to the stoppage.

Unified light heavyweight championEdit

On April 26, 2003, Tarver received his first world title shot, when he faced former WBC champion Montel Griffin for the WBC & IBF light-heavyweight titles that had been vacated by Roy Jones Jr., who had gone on to defeat John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title the previous month. After dropping Griffin in the first and last rounds, Tarver was crowned champion after winning a unanimous decision.

Tarver vs. Jones I, IIEdit

Next, rather than remain at heavyweight, Jones planned to return to light-heavyweight and regain his belts. Given little chance of winning, Tarver took a weight-drained Jones the distance and lost the fight and WBC title by a majority decision on November 8, 2003, in Las Vegas (Tarver had relinquished the IBF title a few days earlier in anticipation of being unable to make a mandatory defense.)[3]

In a rematch on May 15, 2004 in Las Vegas, Tarver upset the odds to regain the WBC title and win the WBA (Super) title by knocking Jones out in the second round. In fifty previous fights, Jones had only been sent to the floor once, leaving most observers shocked at the result.

Rise in popularityEdit

Tarver became a mainstream celebrity after his rematch win over Jones, making appearances at late-night shows, appearing on the cover of both Ring and KO Magazine, being spotted by television cameras as a spectator at various boxing fights, and co-hosting ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" for one telecast.

Tarver vs. Johnson I, IIEdit

Later in 2004, the WBC decided to strip Tarver of the world title after he decided against fighting their mandatory challenger, instead choosing to fight IBF title holder Glen Johnson December 18 in Temecula, California; Tarver had already been removed as Super Champion by the WBA in their July rankings.[4] Johnson himself had been stripped of his IBF title before the bout with Tarver for not fighting his mandatory challenger. Both fighters were celebrated for their decision to fight each other rather than bow to the pressure from what has become known as "The Alphabet Soup" sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF).

Tarver, considered a favorite to win the fight, suffered an upset loss to Johnson by way of a split decision in a fight that he did not appear to be in top shape for. Tarver avenged the loss six months later with a unanimous decision, out-boxing and out-working the aggressive Johnson at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee to regain The Ring championship.

Tarver vs. Jones IIIEdit

In their third fight, Tarver won a unanimous decision over Roy Jones Jr. on October 1, 2005 in Tampa, Florida, almost knocking Jones down in the 11th round but also finding himself in trouble at times during the fight.

Tarver vs. HopkinsEdit

On June 10, 2006, Tarver faced former undisputed world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins for Tarver's The Ring title at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hopkins, a 3-to-1 underdog, dominated the fight, outboxing Tarver to win a unanimous decision. The fight was scored 118–109 by all three judges. Tarver was knocked down in the 5th round. Tarver's record would now stand at 24 wins and 4 losses, with 18 wins coming by way of knockout.

Return to the ringEdit

Tarver returned to the ring nearly one year after his loss to Hopkins, defeating Albanian-fighter Elvir Muriqi on June 9, 2007 by way of a majority decision. In his next fight, held at Foxwoods Resort Casino on December 1, 2007, Tarver registered a win over Danny Santiago by way of a 4th round TKO.

Tarver then regained the IBF title by outpointing Clinton Woods.

Tarver vs. Dawson I, IIEdit

On October 11, 2008, Tarver faced rising star Chad Dawson for Tarver's IBF title. The fight took place at Palms Casino in Las Vegas. Tarver lost the fight via unanimous decision, with wide margins of 118–109 and 117–110 (twice). The outcome was not disputed.

With the loss to Dawson, it was speculated that Tarver may choose to retire; however, he later announced that he and Dawson would meet in a rematch in March 2009.

A rematch with Dawson, originally announced for March 14, 2009, had to be postponed due to an injury suffered by Dawson. Finally, on May 9, the two fighters met at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. Tarver, who came to the fight as a 5:1 underdog, again lost by unanimous decision.

Move up to heavyweightEdit

Following the rematch loss to Dawson, Tarver took over a year off from the ring, before returning on 15 October 2010 to defeat Nagy Aguilera by 10 round unanimous decision in a bout that took place in the heavyweight division. For this fight Tarver officially weighed 221 lbs, some 46 lbs more than he had weighed for the Dawson rematch.

CruiserweightEdit

On 20 July 2011, Tarver took on Australian IBO cruiserweight champion Danny Green at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in Tarver's debut in the 200 lb cruiserweight division.

Tarver dominated the fight, knocking Green down in the second round and controlling the majority of the action from there on in. After taking heavy punishment and being saved by the bell at the end of round 9, Green failed to come out for the start of round 10, allowing Tarver to take the victory and the title by TKO.[5]

ReturnEdit

On February 25, 2021, it was announced that Tarver would be returning to the ring for the first time since 2015. He was signed to face former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir in Mir's boxing debut on April 17 on the undercard of Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren.[6] Tarver intended to represent mental health advocacy and has said he would dedicate the bout with Mir to all survivors or victims of mental health disorders. However, On March 23, it was announced that Tarver had withdrawn from the bout after not being cleared by the Georgia Athletic & Entertainment Commission. He was replaced by former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham.[7]

MediaEdit

Rocky BalboaEdit

Tarver starred as heavyweight champion Mason "The Line" Dixon in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa. In the film the current, unpopular, champion Dixon fights former champion Rocky Balboa, who decides to come out of retirement. Dixon wins the match by split decision, and after breaking his hand in the second round of the bout but still managing to stand toe to toe with Rocky for the full 10 rounds, proves to doubters that he has the heart of a champion. The DVD of the movie offers an alternate ending, in which Rocky wins the split decision. Dixon's record before the fight is 33-0 (30 KO). Also on the DVD, the film's writer and director Sylvester Stallone wanted to cast a real boxer in the role of Dixon, as he thought it would be easier to teach a boxer how to act than to teach an actor how to box convincingly. Tarver is one of only three fighters to actually defeat "Rocky Balboa" in the film.

Commentating with ShowtimeEdit

After his loss to Dawson in June, 2012, Tarver served as a boxing analyst for Showtime Championship Boxing.

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
39 fights 31 wins 6 losses
By knockout 22 0
By decision 9 6
Draws 1
No contests 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
39 Draw 31–6–1 (1)   Steve Cunningham SD 12 Aug 14, 2015   Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
38 Win 31–6 (1)   Johnathon Banks TKO 7 (10), 2:25 Dec 11, 2014   Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, U.S.
37 Win 30–6 (1)   Mike Sheppard TKO 4 (10), 1:54 Nov 26, 2013   BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida, U.S. Won WBA–NABA interim heavyweight title
36 NC 29–6 (1)   Lateef Kayode SD 12 Jun 2, 2012   Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S. IBO cruiserweight title at stake;
Originally an SD, later ruled an NC after Tarver failed a drug test
35 Win 29–6   Danny Green RTD 9 (12), 3:00 Jul 20, 2011   Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia Won IBO cruiserweight title
34 Win 28–6   Nagy Aguilera UD 12 Oct 15, 2010   Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Oklahoma, U.S.
33 Loss 27–6   Chad Dawson UD 12 May 9, 2009   The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles
32 Loss 27–5   Chad Dawson UD 12 Oct 11, 2008   Pearl Concert Theater, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles
31 Win 27–4   Clinton Woods UD 12 Apr 12, 2008   St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, U.S. Retained IBO light heavyweight title;
Won IBF light heavyweight title
30 Win 26–4   Danny Santiago TKO 4 (12), 2:53 Dec 1, 2007   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. Retained IBO light heavyweight title
29 Win 25–4   Elvir Muriqi MD 12 Jun 9, 2007   Convention Center, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. Won vacant IBO light heavyweight title
28 Loss 24–4   Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Jun 10, 2006   Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
27 Win 24–3   Roy Jones Jr. UD 12 Oct 1, 2005   St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, U.S. Retained IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
26 Win 23–3   Glen Johnson UD 12 Jun 18, 2005   FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. Won IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
25 Loss 22–3   Glen Johnson SD 12 Dec 18, 2004   Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Lost IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
24 Win 22–2   Roy Jones Jr. TKO 2 (12), 1:41 May 15, 2004   Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won WBA (Unified), WBC, IBO, IBA, The Ring, and inaugural WBF (Foundation) light heavyweight titles
23 Loss 21–2   Roy Jones Jr. MD 12 Nov 8, 2003   Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC light heavyweight title;
For IBO, The Ring and vacant WBA (Unified) light heavyweight titles
22 Win 21–1   Montell Griffin UD 12 Apr 26, 2003   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. Won vacant WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles
21 Win 20–1   Eric Harding TKO 5 (12), 0:43 Jul 20, 2002   Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
20 Win 19–1   Reggie Johnson SD 12 Jan 25, 2002   Ramada Plaza O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois, U.S. Won WBCNABF and IBFUSBA light heavyweight titles
19 Win 18–1   Chris Johnson KO 10 (10), 1:53 Aug 3, 2001   Yakama Legends Casino, Toppenish, Washington, U.S.
18 Win 17–1   Lincoln Carter TKO 5 (10), 1:22 Feb 24, 2001   Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
17 Loss 16–1   Eric Harding UD 12 Jun 23, 2000   Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
16 Win 16–0   Ernest Mateen KO 1 (10), 0:56 Feb 29, 2000   Plaza Hotel & Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15 Win 15–0   Mohamed Benguesmia TKO 9 (10), 0:51 Oct 2, 1999   Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
14 Win 14–0   Jerry Williams TKO 5 (10) Jun 12, 1999   Aleppo Shriners Auditorium, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S.
13 Win 13–0   Roy Francis TKO 3 (10) Mar 27, 1999   Jai-Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, U.S.
12 Win 12–0   John Williams KO 4 (12), 0:42 Feb 5, 1999   Jai-Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, U.S.
11 Win 11–0   Rocky Gannon TKO 2 (10), 2:28 Aug 30, 1998   Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, Chester, West Virginia, U.S.
10 Win 10–0   Jose Luis Rivera RTD 4 (10), 3:00 Jun 23, 1998   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9 Win 9–0   Charles Oliver UD 8 Mar 24, 1998   Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
8 Win 8–0   Boyer Chew TKO 7 (8), 2:17 Jan 17, 1998   Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
7 Win 7–0   Roy Francis TKO 2 (6), 2:03 Dec 2, 1997   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0   Benito Fernandez TKO 3 (6) Oct 28, 1997   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0   Berry Butler UD 6 Oct 4, 1997   Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
4 Win 4–0   Shelby Gross TKO 1 (4), 2:59 Aug 12, 1997   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
3 Win 3–0   Tracy Barrios TKO 3 (6) Jun 21, 1997   Sun Dome, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
2 Win 2–0   Jason Burrell TKO 3 (4), 0:22 Apr 29, 1997   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
1 Win 1–0   Joaquin Garcia TKO 2 (4), 2:01 Feb 18, 1997   The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ HBO World Championship Boxing tale of the tape prior to the second Chad Dawson fight.
  2. ^ Tarver settles for bronze
  3. ^ Jones concedes, will let Tarver enter ring last. Usatoday.Com (2003-11-07). Retrieved on 2012-09-15.
  4. ^ Official Ratings as of June 2004. World Boxing Association (2004-07-03)
  5. ^ AFP: Tarver stops Green for fifth world title. Google.com (2011-07-20). Retrieved on 2012-09-15.
  6. ^ John Morgan (February 25, 2021). "Frank Mir to box Antonio Tarver on undercard of Ben Askren-Jake Paul pay-per-view event". MMAJunkie.com. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  7. ^ Marc Raimondi, Ariel Helwani (March 23, 2021). "Antonio Tarver won't fight Frank Mir, who now may take on Steve Cunningham in Atlanta". ESPN. Retrieved March 24, 2021.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Previous:
Montell Griffin
U.S. light heavyweight champion
1993
Next:
Benjamin McDowell
Previous:
Benjamin McDowell
U.S. Golden Gloves
light heavyweight champion

1994
Next:
Glenn Robinson
Previous:
Benjamin McDowell
U.S. light heavyweight champion
1995
Next:
Anthony Stewart
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by NABF light heavyweight champion
January 25, 2002 – July 2002
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Montell Griffin
USBA light heavyweight champion
January 25, 2002 – July 2002
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Glen Johnson
Vacant
Title last held by
Fres Oquendo
WBA–NABA heavyweight champion
Interim title

November 26, 2013 – December 2014
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Jarrell Miller
Minor world boxing titles
Preceded by IBO light heavyweight champion
May 15, 2004 – December 18, 2004
Succeeded by
Glen Johnson
IBA light heavyweight champion
May 15, 2004 – December 2004
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Glen Johnson
Inaugural champion WBF (Foundation) light heavyweight champion
May 15, 2004 – December 2004
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Dawid Kostecki
Preceded by
Glen Johnson
IBO light heavyweight champion
June 18, 2005 – June 10, 2006
Succeeded by
Vacant
Title last held by
Bernard Hopkins
IBO light heavyweight champion
June 9, 2007 – October 11, 2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by IBO cruiserweight champion
July 20, 2011 – September 2012
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Danny Green
Major world boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Roy Jones Jr.
WBC light heavyweight champion
April 26, 2003 – November 8, 2003
Succeeded by
Roy Jones Jr.
IBF light heavyweight champion
April 26, 2003 – October 31, 2003
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Glen Johnson
Preceded by
Roy Jones Jr.
WBA light heavyweight champion
Super title

May 15, 2004 – July 1, 2004
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Beibut Shumenov
WBC light heavyweight champion
May 15, 2004 – November 4, 2004
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Tomasz Adamek
The Ring light heavyweight champion
May 15, 2004 – December 18, 2004
Succeeded by
Glen Johnson
Preceded by
Glen Johnson
The Ring light heavyweight champion
June 18, 2005 – June 10, 2006
Succeeded by
Bernard Hopkins
Preceded by IBF light heavyweight champion
April 12, 2008 – October 11, 2008
Succeeded by
Chad Dawson
Awards
Previous:
Roy Jones Jr.
Best Boxer ESPY Award
2004
Next:
Bernard Hopkins
Previous:
Rocky Juarez
KO10 Antonio Diaz
The Ring Knockout of the Year
KO2 Roy Jones Jr.

2004
Next:
Allan Green
KO1 Jaidon Codrington