Antonio Tarver

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Antonio Tarver
AntonioTarverRaiseJuly2011.jpg
Tarver with the IBO title, 2011
Statistics
Real name Antonio Deon Tarver
Nickname(s) The Magic Man
Rated at
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach 75 in (191 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1968-11-21) November 21, 1968 (age 48)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 39
Wins 31
Wins by KO 22
Losses 6
Draws 1
No contests 1

Antonio Deon Tarver (born November 21, 1968) is an American professional boxer. He is a multiple-time light heavyweight world champion, having held the WBA (Super), WBC (twice), IBF (twice) and The Ring magazine titles (twice), as well the IBO light heavyweight (three times) and cruiserweight titles.

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, 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.[1]

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

Professional career[edit]

Early years[edit]

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.

Winning the light-heavyweight titles[edit]

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 & II[edit]

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.)[2]

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 popularity[edit]

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 & II[edit]

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.[3] Interestingly, 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.

Rubber match against Jones[edit]

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 Hopkins[edit]

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. As a result of a clause in the fight 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's record would now stand at 24 wins and 4 losses, with 18 wins coming by way of knockout.

Return to the ring[edit]

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 & II[edit]

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 heavyweight[edit]

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.

Cruiserweight[edit]

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.[4]

Failed drug test[edit]

Tarver reportedly tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in his pre-fight urine sample prior to his fight with Kayode, with the tests' results only released publicly after the fight.

Tarver tested positive for a banned substance yet again in his pre-fight urine samples coming into the Cunningham bout, with the tests once again being released after the fight.

Media[edit]

Rocky Balboa[edit]

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. In an August 18, 2010 interview with Stallone on The Howard Stern Show, the director indicated that Tarver refused to film his scene after the MGM had been rented out and filled with people already incurring high costs. In order to get the filming done, Stallone gave Tarver a cut of his own salary and points on the back end which resulted in Stallone making no money on the film.[5]

Commentating with Showtime[edit]

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

Amateur career[edit]

  • 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 (Mexico) RSC 3 (1:54)
  • Lost to Vassiliy Jirov (Kazakhstan) 9–15

Professional boxing record[edit]

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) United States Steve Cunningham SD 12 Aug 14, 2015 United States Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
38 Win 31–6 (1) United States Johnathon Banks TKO 7 (10), 2:25 Dec 11, 2014 United States Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California, U.S.
37 Win 30–6 (1) United States Mike Sheppard TKO 4 (10), 1:54 Nov 26, 2013 United States BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida, U.S. Won WBA–NABA interim heavyweight title
36 NC 29–6 (1) Nigeria Lateef Kayode SD 12 Jun 2, 2012 United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S. Retained IBO cruiserweight title;
Originally an SD, later ruled an NC after Tarver failed a drug test
35 Win 29–6 Australia Danny Green RTD 9 (12), 3:00 Jul 20, 2011 Australia Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia Won IBO cruiserweight title
34 Win 28–6 Dominican Republic Nagy Aguilera UD 12 Oct 15, 2010 United States Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Oklahoma, U.S.
33 Loss 27–6 United States Chad Dawson UD 12 May 9, 2009 United States Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles
32 Loss 27–5 United States Chad Dawson UD 12 Oct 11, 2008 United States Palms Casino Resort, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles
31 Win 27–4 United Kingdom Clinton Woods UD 12 Apr 12, 2008 United States St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, U.S. Retained IBO light heavyweight title;
Won IBF light heavyweight title
30 Win 26–4 United States Danny Santiago TKO 4 (12), 2:53 Dec 1, 2007 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. Retained IBO light heavyweight title
29 Win 25–4 Albania Elvir Muriqi MD 12 Jun 9, 2007 United States Convention Center, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. Won vacant IBO light heavyweight title
28 Loss 24–4 United States Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Jun 10, 2006 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
27 Win 24–3 United States Roy Jones Jr. UD 12 Oct 1, 2005 United States St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, U.S. Retained IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
26 Win 23–3 Jamaica Glen Johnson UD 12 Jun 18, 2005 United States FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. Won IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
25 Loss 22–3 Jamaica Glen Johnson SD 12 Dec 18, 2004 United States Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Lost IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
24 Win 22–2 United States Roy Jones Jr. TKO 2 (12), 1:41 May 15, 2004 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won WBA (Super), WBC, IBO, IBA, The Ring, and vacant WBF light heavyweight titles
23 Loss 21–2 United States Roy Jones Jr. MD 12 Nov 8, 2003 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC light heavyweight title;
For WBA (Super), IBO, and The Ring light heavyweight titles
22 Win 21–1 United States Montell Griffin UD 12 Apr 26, 2003 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. Won vacant WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles
21 Win 20–1 United States Eric Harding TKO 5 (12), 0:43 Jul 20, 2002 United States Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
20 Win 19–1 United States Reggie Johnson SD 12 Jan 25, 2002 United States Ramada Plaza O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois, U.S. Won NABF and USBA light heavyweight titles
19 Win 18–1 Jamaica Chris Johnson KO 10 (10), 1:53 Aug 3, 2001 United States Yakama Legends Casino, Toppenish, Washington, U.S.
18 Win 17–1 United States Lincoln Carter TKO 5 (10), 1:22 Feb 24, 2001 United States Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
17 Loss 16–1 United States Eric Harding UD 12 Jun 23, 2000 United States Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
16 Win 16–0 United States Ernest Mateen KO 1 (10), 0:56 Feb 29, 2000 United States Plaza Hotel & Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 Algeria Mohamed Benguesmia TKO 9 (10), 0:51 Oct 2, 1999 United States Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States Jerry Williams TKO 5 (10) Jun 12, 1999 United States Aleppo Shriners Auditorium, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 Jamaica Roy Francis TKO 3 (10) Mar 27, 1999 United States Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States John Williams KO 4 (12), 0:42 Feb 5, 1999 United States Jai Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Rocky Gannon TKO 2 (10), 2:28 Aug 30, 1998 United States Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, Chester, West Virginia, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Jose Luis Rivera RTD 4 (10), 3:00 Jun 23, 1998 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Charles Oliver UD 8 Mar 24, 1998 United States Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Boyer Chew TKO 7 (8), 2:17 Jan 17, 1998 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 Jamaica Roy Francis TKO 2 (6), 2:03 Dec 2, 1997 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Benito Fernandez TKO 3 (6) Oct 28, 1997 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Berry Butler UD 6 Oct 4, 1997 United States Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Shelby Gross TKO 1 (4), 2:59 Aug 12, 1997 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Tracy Barrios TKO 3 (6) Jun 21, 1997 United States Sun Dome, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Jason Burrell TKO 3 (4), 0:22 Apr 29, 1997 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Joaquin Garcia TKO 2 (4), 2:01 Feb 18, 1997 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

Regional titles
Preceded by
Reggie Johnson
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 titles
Preceded by
Roy Jones Jr.
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
New title WBF 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
Bernard Hopkins
Vacant
Title last held by
Bernard Hopkins
IBO light heavyweight champion
June 9, 2007 – October 11, 2008
Succeeded by
Chad Dawson
Preceded by
Danny Green
IBO light cruiserweight champion
July 20, 2011 – September 2012
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Danny Green
Major world 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 – November 5, 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 6, 2004
Stripped
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
Clinton Woods
IBF light heavyweight champion
April 12, 2008 – October 11, 2008
Succeeded by
Chad Dawson

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tarver settles for bronze
  2. ^ Jones concedes, will let Tarver enter ring last. Usatoday.Com (2003-11-07). Retrieved on 2012-09-15.
  3. ^ OFFICIAL RATINGS AS OF JUNE 2004. WORLD BOXING ASSOCIATION (2004-07-03)
  4. ^ AFP: Tarver stops Green for fifth world title. Google.com (2011-07-20). Retrieved on 2012-09-15.
  5. ^ Stallone has another hit – The Howard Stern Show. Howardstern.com (2010-08-18). Retrieved on 2012-09-15.

External links[edit]

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