|TEAM TARVER (L-R) — Cuban Olympian Robert Alfonso, Milo Thornton, Antonio Tarver, Jr., Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, world-rated light heavyweight Yunieski Gonzalez, head trainer Orland Cuellar and cut-person Angela Mitchell. (pictures by Don Sheperd)|
TAMPA (Dec. 18, 2014) – All five-time world champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) wants for Christmas is a signed contract to fight former two-division world champion David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs), ideally, during the first-quarter of 2015.
Tarver had been sending direct tweets for the past six months to Haye, who hasn’t fought in more than two years, without receiving a response. Coming off last week’s impressive seventh-round knockout of veteran Johnathan Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs), Tarver has taken off the proverbial gloves and he is now publically calling out Haye, who insists, once again, that he is coming out of retirement.
“In a perfect world I will be fighting Haye early next year,” Tarver said. “He keeps insisting that he’s the second-biggest name in the heavyweight division I need him to be my set-up guy to beat in order for me to get a world title shot againstWladimir Klitschko. Haye has one-punch knockout ability and he’s aggressive. Once I beat him, though, I want Klitschko. I will come to England and knockout Haye, knock him out cold. I’m 46 and I don’t want to go through 12 guys like (Chris) Arreola, (Eddie) Chambers or (Steve) Cunningham to get Klitschko. He’s waiting for me to lose so he doesn’t have to fight me. I’m calling out Haye to get Klitschko. He talks a lot but the boxing world will see if Haye’s serious about fighting again. Tarver vs. Haye is a huge fight in London.
“I’m a star and I want to get paid. None of these cats know how to really promote a fight like Antonio Tarver. I’d prefer to fight Haye in Las Vegas but I’ll come to England to KO his ass! I have the most powerful adviser in boxing, Al Haymon, and I’ve told him I want Haye next. If Haye announces he’s coming out of retirement to fight somebody else, I’ll be at that press conference to embarrass him, the same way I had to get my (Roy) Jones (Jr.) fight. I’m a throw-back fighter who can make a pay-per-view bonanza fighting Klitschko and the way to get that fight is by knocking out Haye. I doubt he’ll fight me because he knows he can’t beat me. I want David Haye in the UK!
“No heavyweight can outbox me. They will have to knock me out to beat me and nobody’s ever done that. I will become the oldest world heavyweight champion in boxing history to cement my legacy. I’m coming for Klitschko after I KO Haye. I’m going to shoot a real-life Rocky movie with me chopping down Klitschko.
Tarver also had some terse words for critics who complained during and after his recent fight that Banks was a weak opponent and their fight was a snoozer until the final round.
“I hit him with a quick 1-2 and then he wouldn’t stand in front of me because he felt my speed and power early,” Tarver explained. “He didn’t want to get hit with my counter-punches. I wish he had opened up and fought but he didn’t exchange blows. Boxing is the art of self-defense but I don’t see fighters today using their heads. Boxing is chess not checkers. I can box but, when I pick that lock like I did in the seventh round, I can knockout any heavyweight in the world. I don’t think I was hit with one good punch. My reflexes and timing, even at 46, are second to none.”
Tarver initially suffered a now-fully-healed fractured thumb to his left hand, closer to the wrist, postponing the original September 29th fight date versus Banks. Tarver remained in the gym and put in the proper time and effort to stop Banks.
“We created tough sparring sessions to prepare him for Banks,” Tarver’s head trainer Orlando Cuellar commented. “We knew Banks was dangerous and that he could crack. We just kept training and Antonio had to overcome a lot of physical obstacles during camp. He just kept going. He tried to do the impossible and did it. He showed a lot of movement, the ability to explode, and tremendous ring generalship. He sure didn’t look 46 the way he cracked Banks. And he’ll be 50-percent better in his next fight.
“Antonio showed his dedication to improve in the gym. We had a good game plan but he had to do everything he worked on in the fight. His timing was good and he won every round. Banks came out planning to jump on Antonio but he tasted his power in the first 30 seconds and he then didn’t want any part of it. He honestly exceeded what I expected and I didn’t realize how good a finisher he is.”
If Santa Claus delivers a contract for him to fight Haye, he may as well give Tarver another display case, as well, to store the world heavyweight title belt Antonio plans to capture in 2015.