He will turn 42 on Nov. 21st, but Antonio Tarver swears he still has much left to give the sport. Not just from the sidelines, as a color analyst, but as an active fighter.
On a Tuesday conference call to hype his debut as a heavyweight against Nagy Aguilera, a Dominican-born New Yorker who holds a win over Oleg Maskaev, Tarver said he has a two year window to get it done at heavyweight. The 24-year-old Aguilera sent Maskaev to the hammock, but Tarver (27-6 with 19 KOs) says he will show age is just a number, and likely wont befall the same fate.
The lack of recognizable heavyweight faces in the division, American faces, spurred Tarver to skip over the the cruiserweight division and go right to KlitschkoLand, he told us. The ex light heavy champ, who comes in a loser of two straight, both UD12s to Chad Dawson, says he feels stronger than he has in awhile, because he was overtraining to serve the scale.
I was running five, six, seven miles to make weight, he said.
If he beats Aguilera (16-4, with 11 KOs) on ShoBox, Tarver said he has no real preference if its Wladimir, Vitali or David Haye for a title shot. Hed like about two more camps, more time to get thicker, and he thinks then hell be ready for a truly stern test. If I cant get it done Oct. 15, at the Buffalo Run in Miami, Oklahoma, then it was nothing but a dream. But nobody cant say I didnt dream big, he said.
The southpaw Tarver says hes at around 225 now, and is psyched because hell have added musculature, which he didnt have before because he was worried the muscle would make it hard for him to make 175. Hes enjoying complex carbs, and not draining his body with excess roadwork. I breezed through eight rounds the other day and I felt like I could go 12. Im drinking water, not being afraid to drink in case I put on two or three pounds. Im not no plodding heavyweight, Im a dazzling heavyweight. If these guys think they can walk me down, theyll have to find me..Im unloading my bag of tricks.
So, will Tarver bulk up and try to get into Klitschko-poundage territory? Ill probably be 217, he said. If they dont knock me out, I dont see them winning.
Tarver says he does have pop, and that no one should worry that he hasnt kayoed anyone since 2007 (Danny Santiago). Aguilera has been stopped once, by Sam Peter (TKO2) in March. Well offer a TSS money back guarantee that Tarver doesnt stop Aguilera.
Aguilera told the media that he wont underestimate Tarver, and fixate on his lack of pop. He said he respects Tarvers experience, but will train for 12 rounds, and knows full well that a win would help his buzz immensely.
He says that this time around, he is focusing on boxing 24-7, which at times he hasnt previously. Sometimes Ive been lazy, Aguilera said, doing what Nagy wants to do. This time, hes doing his roadwork, and putting in time at the gym, respecting the opportunity.
Tarver wanted a fight at cruiswerweight with Danny Green, he said, before tossing a few barbs at Green for ducking him, but in retrospect, he thinks maybe he should have jumped to heavyweight earlier.
I just have it, Tarver said, when asked how and why hed be able to do to the Klitschkos what other challengers have not been able to. I have two years to do it, and its gonna get done. The Brothers K will underestimate him, he said. I feel it in my heart, I will become the heavyweight champion of the world.
Tarver said it will feel crazy to work in front of colleagues Steve Farhood and the production crew on ShoBox. Im looking forward to the fighters meeting more than anything, he said, with a chuckle. Im glad ShoBox still believes in Magic. If we have to go out on our shield, so be it…Im gonna give back to the sport, and just let them know Im still here.
What about it, TSS U? Will Tarver be outgunned at heavyweight? Will he go out on his shield, or can he still do it, with ring savvy? Hell need his legs to get out of the way of Aguileras shots; will he still have legs if Aguilera catches him a few times with a few bombs? TSS-EM thinks Tarver might get his chin tested, and that he is to be credited by not testing himself against a crash test dummy. But Tarver is in another world, skills-wise, than Aguilera, and should have enough defensive aptitude remaining to potshot his way to a win. An upset, though, is not out of the realm of possibility.