It was by no means a disgraceful outing, an experiment gone awry. Antonio Tarver didnt look out of place in his first heavyweight outing in the ShoBox main event at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, but it must be said that his foe, Nagy Aguilera contributed heavily to the success Tarver enjoyed a he carved out a unanimous decision over ten rounds.
The judges saw it 98-92, 98-92, 98-92, for Tarver, who shrugged off a bum shoulder, which he admitted to colleague Steve Farhood hurt him some.
The ex light heavyweight said he didnt feel really rusty after a 17 month layoff, but wants to work on his power. I got power but he got a good chin, Tarver said. I think I looked great, it showed that these heavyweights, if they dont land a knockout punch, they cant outbox me, they dont stand a chance, so we coming up.
The TSS-EM take: Tarvers shoulder told him what hes unwilling to admit. Hes a middle aged man in a young mans sport. The body breaks down, a man can only run the engine so hard before it balks. Tarver, in this grim, beyond bleak, heavyweight scene, doesnt look out of place at that second tier beneath the Klitchkos, so we could see him secure a title shot, but hes no threat to topple a Klit. His reflexes are not shot, hes still able to pull the trigger, so if his body holds up, we should see him get a title crack by late summer 2011 or so.
Tarver (28-6 with 19 KOs; age 41; living in Florida) was 221 pounds at the weigh-in, and Aguilera (16-5, with 11 KOs; age 24; from the DR and the Bronx) was 232.
Tarver, who turns 42 on November 21st, last gloved up in May 2009, against Chad Dawson. In the first, he moved, hauling the extra 40 or so pounds around in comfortable fashion. But would that last? His frame didnt scream soft and flabby, but his trunks were hiked up high. Aguilera himself is an athlete who could make cruiserweight, so this wasnt a matchup of two body beauts. Tarver did land a couple lefts, including a couple leads, which scored, but the round was tight.
In round two, Tarver had more luck. He backed Aggie into the corner, and blasted away. A left uppercut hurt Aggie a bit in the third, a good Tarver round. The fourth was not a good Tarver round. He was listless, and Aguilera got bolder. Tarver also winced when he missed with a left. Did he hurt his arm, or his shoulder? In the fifth, Tarver stepped it up, but his left was half hearted. He compensated with a right hook and jab, to a degree. Water, water, Tarver requested after the round. His trainer Jimmy Williams, age 83 (!) told him, Dont let this guy get brave.
In the sixth, Aggie kept up a decent pace. Hes not a wondrous athlete, pretty slow afoot, with quite average handspeed, it must be said. Tarvers left looked fine in the seventh. He hammered Aggie, not bothering to counter the underdog, but instead taking it to him. Tarver shrugged his left shoulder, looking like he was trying to stretch it out, in the eighth. But he threw it at Aggie, who was backed into a corner. Aggie actually landed a straight right, something he didnt throw nearly often enough, but ended the round eating shots in a corner. Tarver put together some combos in the ninth, and knew full well that Aguilera wasnt really mentally in it to win it, sad to say. In the tenth, Aggie did press forward some, doing what he shouldve and couldve done a whole lot more of from round one on. But it was too little, too late, so wed go to the cards.
In the TV opener, Shawn Porter (17-0 with 13 KOs; age 22; from Ohio; 2008 US Olympian) got the better of Hector Munoz (18-4-1 with 11 KOs; from New Mexico; age 32) in a contest for the vacant NABF welterweight title. Porter came out smoking, mixing in body shots with head strikes. In the second, Munoz got good and buzzed. Porter didnt go overboard, having done his scouting, and knowing that Munoz can is an all you can style boxer, who comes back for more, and doesnt look to lay down. A left hook Munoz didnt see sent him sprawling, but he came out for the third. His handspeed deteriorated in the third, and his face was reddened, and his body language indicated that he would not perhaps see the final bell. But Porter didnt go as balls out in the fourth. Was Munoz going to get himself going, and turn the tide?
A clash of heads opened a mean slice on the right side of Munoz scalp, but the action continued in the fifth. Porter stepped it up, looking to close the show, as the blood went from a trickle to a flow. The doc took a look after the round, and let him come out for the sixth. Porter comes off as a poor mans Andre Berto, which is no disgrace. He has a penchant for aggression, stays busy, and doesnt give a foe many opportunities to pick an opening.
Poter tends to leap in, and Munoz tends to lean in while he bulls forward, so there were multiple butts. Munoz hung tough, managing to land the odd shot, mostly the jab, so there wasnt much of a chance that ref Gary Ritter would pull the plug.
Another gash dripped into Munoz right eye in the ninth, so that was three cuts that the underdog had to contend with. Luckily, he was wearing XMas trunks, green with red trim on the belt, so everything basically blended in nicely. Finally, in the ninth, Ritter, on advice of the Munoz corner, saw enough, and stepped in to save Munoz from further damage. The time of the halt was 2:05. Munoz earned every damn dime of his purse. Hes too brave for his own good.