Tarver Fights Cunningham To Split Draw

A vet and an ultra vet heavyweight tangled in the main event on SPIKE, from the Pru Center in NJ on Friday night.

Steve Cunningham is used to being undersized and was again, against an ex 175 ace, Antonio Tarver.

39 versus 46, and the pace wasn’t blazing. We saw USS with a volume edge and Tarver with a power edge and the judges had a final say: they saw it 115-113 for Cunningham, 115-114 for Tarver and 114-114, even. It was a split draw.

The stats, according to CompuBox: USS went 154-678 to 141-450 for Tarver.

No one pulled away and put their stamp on it, so I’m OK with a draw.

Steve Farhood had Tarver up by two points on his card.

Tarver (31-6 entering), from Florida, is 46 and lives in Tampa. Cunningham (28-7 entering; age 39) is a Jersey resident.

In the first, we saw USS looking leaner and Tarver looking a bit chubby and slower. The lefty Tarver, though, does have that guile on tap so we’d have to see if physique mattered. It was a feel out round. In the second, USS jabbed more and won it. Slow fight so far. In the third, Tarver looked to back USS up after the NJ boxer peppered him some. We went to the fourth…the jab worked for USS. He picked up his pace and had the older man working harder than he wanted to. Cunningham ate a hook and it might have buzzed him. A right behind the ear did it and then he got his front foot hooked up.

In the fifth, USS got staggered again. A left counter on the button was impressive. To round six..Tarver’s power was noted by USS and he moved more. His corner told him to finish his combos after the round. In round seven, and then eight, Tarver looked to land bombs. To the ninth…Tarver wanted to end it with a left. USS was wide awake defensively, though. He ate in the tenth, as Tarver pressed. He edged forward, knowing the end was near and he could expend more energy. Then Cunningham tried to steal the round with effort. In round 11, the action picked up. In round 12, both stayed smart and USS pushed more. A left by Tarver landed hard and clean did he steal the round? To the cards we went…



-oubobcat :

I thought Tarver won the fight though there were a lot of razor thin close rounds. I scored it 116-112 for Tarver but can certainly see the argument for a draw or a Cunningham win. It was honestly a little more entertaining then expected. Tarver landed harder shots in spots and Cunnigham was busier but I thought less effective and his punches did not land as clean or with as much impact as Tarver's. Cunningham also had a difficult time blocking that overhand left of Tarver's and if Tarver was a little more busy with that punch he probably would have got the nod on the cards. As the fight progressed into the later rounds, Cunningham would start early letting punches go and Tarver would wait back blocking but not throwing. But around the last 30 seconds or so, Tarver would come on strong and land his more impactful shots. I understand the strategy from Tarver but blowing those first two and a half minutes of the round also cost him on the cards. He should have tried to do a little something and again probably would have got the nod. Both are obviously well past their prime but being with Al Haymon both will get opportunities down the line. I think we see Cunningham matched with Spzilka (who won last night also) and Tarver sit out and wait for the Wilder-Povetkin winner.

-walkersmithjr :

How about Tarver returning to cruiserweight and challenging new champ Glowacki for the Cruiserweight title! Makes more sense than waiting for a heavyweight title shot. After all he is 46 and the clock is ticking. With Glowacki "The Wacker" winning big and being exposed to the American audience I know I wouldn't miss it!

-Bernie Campbell :

Does Tarver deserve a title shot after an undefined draw with Cunningham? Putem in with Glaskov! Or Howsabout Andy Ruiz!

-StormCentre :

Tarver can crack, and he does have some really good experience and ring savvy. His fight ending punch on Danny Green over here in Oz a few years back was so hard/loud people sitting in the back rows claimed they heard it crack Green. Regardless of the acoustics, he belted the bejesus out of Green with it; leaving him dribbling and looking like he was temporarily mentally disabled. But - in my opinion - Tarver waited far too long on Cunningham for that perfect left cross, for my liking. Steve was open for the lead and/or counter right hook, but it seemed that Antonio was not agile, fit, and quick enough to play that move. Steve Farhood (if my memory serves me well) scored the fight either (just) for Tarver, or as a draw. Personally, I thought Steve Cunningham was more effective, active, and forced his (sometimes sloppy, but then he was facing a lefty) game plan on Tarver - more than the other way round; even though Antonio probably landed the (much, much fewer thrown but) harder punches. At most; I gave Tarver 2, maybe 3, rounds. Note RJJ at ringside and in the crowd; possibly scouting a fight with the Abra-Ca-Dabra Magic Man Tarver. Hopefully that fight doesn't happen though. As I think Tarver - particularly with a few more fights and a little more stamina - would probably knock Roy Jones out even harder than before. :) :)

-amayseng :

I like Steve as a human being but man can he not throw a punch properly... It is like a pushing punch or something, where as Tarver's are crisp and snappy. I had Tarver edging him out with more accurate and meaningful shots. Tarver needs to tighten up and lose about 15 lbs