MIAMI (September 4, 2014) – The long, arduous journey continues later this month
for 5-time world light heavyweight champion and 2004 U.S. Olympian
Man” Tarver(30-6, 21 KOs). The ultra-confident 45-year-old southpaw is
on a mission
to capture the world heavyweight title, undeniably securing his legacy as one of
the greatest boxers of all-time.
Tarver returns to the ring September 29 against veteran Johnathon Banks (29-2-1,
19 KOs) in the 10-round main event, on a Golden Boy Promotions card,
on Fox Sports 1 from State Farm Arena in Hildalgo, Texas.
“Al (Haymon, his adviser) has given me this chance,” Tarver explained.
“If I retired
tomorrow, I would feel unfulfilled despite so much I’ve done as a
fighter. The only
reason I get up every morning to train hard is to win the world
I’m on a dream path again. Outside of falling a little short in Atlanta (he won
a bronze medal, losing to eventual champion Vassiliy Jirov), I’ve
never had a dream
in or out of the ring that I didn’t accomplish. I won the world light
title, made it to Hollywood (starring as Mason Dixon in Rocky VI), and
for a major network.
“I will be world heavyweight champion and I’ll break George Foreman’s record as
the oldest. I don’t want to beat just any guy with the world title belt, I want
Wladimir Klitschko, and to set-up that fight I will challenge and
defeat David Haye,
if he has the guts to fight me. Even at 45, I have so much fight in
me, and there
isn’t a heavyweight I can’t beat in a 12-round fight, unless they knock me out,
something nobody’s been able to do in my entire career.”
First, though, Tarver needs to win in impressive fashion against
Banks, who, ironically,
also trains Klitschko. “Banks is a good fighter,” Tarver continued,
“but I’m going
into this fight in top shape, weighing 220 pounds, and totally focused. I’ll be
sharp, quick, elusive and throwing combination punches should be the
keys to victory.
I will prevail and continue my journey.”
Tarver, fighting out of Tampa, believes he’s as much a threat today as
he was during
his “Murder’s Row”-like 4-year, 9-fight stretch between 2002-2006, in
which he had
a 6-3 record, defeating Roy Jones, Jr. in two of three, splitting a
pair with Glen
Johnson, defeating Montell Griffin, Eric Harding and Reggie Johnson, and losing
to Bernard Hopkins.
“I never won a close fight and in my mind I’ve lost only twice, one to
younger version of myself, Chad Dawson, and Bernard Hopkins. Kelly Pavlik’s the
only other fighter than me who knows what it’s like to be decisively favored and
beaten by Hopkins, who is going to beat (Sergey) Kovalev, too. I
never got a rematch
“I’ve never gotten the credit I deserve. I’m going to quiet my critics who never
mention me as a Hall of Famer. I’m the best defensive fighter in
I’ve never been cut or hurt and that’s why I’m still here. Defense is
a lost art.
This is going to be sweet! I love boxing and I’ve forgotten more about it than
kids today will ever know. I have a lot of experience. People have been sleeping
on my abilities for a long time. I’m on a mission!”
Tarver will be headlining the card his 26-year-old middleweight son,
Jr., will making his professional debut. The Tarvers train at
Brazilian Rocky Fight
Club in Miami, under the guidance of head trainer Orlando Cuellar,
trained Johnson for his two fights with Tarver.
Tarver & Cuellar
“I believe in Antonio because of his dedication, discipline and
willingness to do
what it takes to do as well as he possibly can,” Cuellar commented.
“I’ve been sold
on him since he walked in the gym and said he was ‘in it to win it.’
I’m not looking
at his age. Hell, he’s been pushing me in training camp. I studied him carefully
when he fought Glen and now I’m training him. It’s not so much about
Antonio, it’s really how much he hates to lose. People can’t write this guy off.
There is a reason he’s a 5-time world champion. When the lights come
on, he’s going
to turn it up, and Banks is going to need his A game to deal with Antonio.”
The clock is ticking for Tarver. Every fight for him is now a must win.
“My record speaks for itself,” he concluded. “Writing me off is a big
going to do something big before I retire. People are going to see on September
29th the magic that’s been missing for a long time. My last few fights I didn’t
scratch the surface of my abilities. I’m back…The Magic Man is back!”