He's ready to rock, he says, rust be damned.
“I know how to fight! People talk about layoffs and whatever…shooot, I know how to fight,” heavyweight Antonio Tarver told me about his Aug. 14 tangle with Steve Cunningham.
“They put me six feet under, but they forgot to put the dirt on me,” continued the SPIKE analyst, and former light heavy and cruiser champ, who seeks heavyweight gold. “We're reaching whole new heights August 14th! The Magic Man is gonna show what the game's been missing! Don't miss it.”
SPIKE will televise this scrap, on a PBC show, running in New Jersey.
Tarver respects Cunningham, and isn't looking past him, but he'd welcome a Wladimir Klitschko tussle ASAP. “Cunningham is another man I gotta face, trying to take everything I got, I know what's in front of me. It's business, not personal.”
I asked about the stakes–has mention been made of what's next for the winner? A crack at WBC champ Deontay Wilder?
“I know my destination and my destiny, all of them are on borrowed time! They are not going to hand over Klitschko to me, I know I got to earn it. As for Klitschko vs. Fury, I don't see much in Fury. He's got a little size on him but he can't fight a lick. But…he did beat me there, so he must be doing something right.”
Orland Cuellar will train Tarver, who has fought once a year since 2009, for the violent waltz, and the boxer said he will likely bring in cruiserweight types, volume guys, to approximate Cunningham, in his camp.
He won't over-tax his body, he said, and will likely spar between 12-18 rounds a week.
“I know how to fight,” he reiterated. “I'm gonna let the whole world know I'm coming for the championship. Let there by no doubt in any minds what I'm capable of after August 14!”
Here is the release which went out to announce the scrap and the show:
ANTONIO TARVER AND STEVE CUNNINGHAM TO MEET IN HEAVYWEIGHT BATTLE ON PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS ON SPIKE AT PRUDENTIAL CENTER IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEYON FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 AT 9 P.M. ET/PT
Cruiserweight World Champion Marco Huck Takes On
Undefeated Contender Kryzsztof Glowacki
Tickets On Sale Friday!
NEWARK, NJ (July 9, 2015) – Former world champions are set to collide as Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) takes on Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) in a 12-round heavyweight showdown as Premier Boxing Champions on Spike comes to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Friday, August 14.
Televised coverage on Spike begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT with cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26 KOs) squaring off against undefeated Polish standout Krysztof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KOs) in a 12-round cruiserweight title bout. Also featured will be exciting heavyweight contender Artur Szpilka (19-1, 14 KOs) looking for his third straight knockout.
Undercard action begins at 6:00 p.m. ET with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. ET.
“I'm thrilled to be part of this great fight on Spike,” said Tarver. “I take nothing away from Steve Cunningham, who is a proven veteran who is always in good shape. It's going to be a great fight. This is a challenge I wanted and needed. August 14, I'm going to let people know I still got the 'Magic.”
“This is a fight I've wanted for a long time,” said Cunningham. “Tarver is a big name in boxing and I'm looking forward to this shot. I do my talking in the ring. August 14, be prepared for a great fight. The USS Cunningham will be prepared for battle because this is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, are $150, $100, $70 and $45, not including applicable service charges and facility fee and go on sale Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets may also be purchased at Prudential Center's box office beginning Monday, July 13 at 11 a.m.
“On August 14th, Spike's own Antonio Tarver puts everything on the line against the inspirational Steve 'USS' Cunningham in a heavyweight matchup that is a must-win for both fighters,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “We are proud that the show will open with international cruiserweight star Marco Huck defending his cruiserweight supremacy for the first time on U.S. soil against undefeated Polish challenger Krzysztof Glowacki.”
“Antonio is a true champion behind the microphone and inside the ring,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports, Spike TV. “It's only fitting that Spike televise this great event between Tarver and Cunningham. We're looking forward to an exciting night of boxing.”
“We are excited to welcome Premier Boxing Champions and Spike to Prudential Center this summer as we continue to expand our live sports programming,” said Sean Saadeh, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Programming for Prudential Center. “Live heavyweight action is as exciting as it gets in boxing and we look forward to an enthusiastic audience in Newark and around the world.”
The 46-year-old Tarver, a former world champion at light heavyweight, who has worked as a ringside analyst on all four PBC on Spike cards, looks to make his mark on the heavyweight division. A bronze medalist for the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics, Tarver turned pro in 1997 and won his first 16 professional fights. In 2003 he won his first world title by defeating Montell Griffin and in 2004 he became the first man to knockout Roy Jones Jr. The Tampa, Florida-native has won four straight fights heading into this matchup and most recently defeated Johnathon Banks by seventh round knockout.
Representing the great fight city of Philadelphia, Cunningham will look to put on a show just a short drive up the interstate from his hometown. A former world champion at cruiserweight, he defeated Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in 2006 to capture his belt before defending his title against Marco Huck via a twelfth-round TKO. He became a world champion again in 2010 when he stopped Troy Ross in the fifth round. Most recently the 38-year-old defeated previously unbeaten fighters Amir Mansour and Natu Visinia.
A pro since 2004, the 30-year-old Huck will make his U.S. debut on Aug. 14 when he defends his cruiserweight title in Newark. His first crack at a world title was a successful one as he defeated Victor Ramirez in Aug. 2009. He went on to defend his title eight times before moving up in weight to the heavyweight division. He returned to cruiserweight in 2012 and captured another world title by defeating Firat Arslan. Serbian-born, but fighting out of Berlin, he will make the fourth defense of his title on Aug. 14.
A pro since 2008, the Walcz, Poland-born Glowacki makes his first start outside of his native country when he comes to Newark on Aug. 14. The 28-year-old has walked through contenders Matty Askin, Varol Vekiloglu and Thierry Karl on his way to a shot at a world title. Most recently he won a unanimous decision over the experienced Nuri Seferi in Jan. 2015.
The 26-year-old Szpilka will look to build on his most recent PBC on Spike success, as he delivered Friday night knockouts in April and June over Ty Cobb and Manuel Quezada, respectively. The Polish heavyweight's biggest victory came in November 2014 when he defeated longtime contender Tomasz Adamek by unanimous decision. He returns to fight in New Jersey for the second time in his career in August.