"Art imitates life" is a quote we have all heard. When Antonio Tarver steps into the ring this weekend for the first time in over a year, he hopes that the famous quote applies to him.
As most people know, Tarver is 1-0 as a heavyweight with that sole win coming over the legend from Philadelphia, Rocky Balboa.
That of course wasn’t real, but Tarver’s move to heavyweight this weekend is very real. The 42-year-old former light heavyweight champion and Roy Jones Jr. conqueror will square off against Nagy Aguilera.
Aguilera (16-4 11 KO) is best known for a knockout win over a shot Oleg Maskaev. Since then, he has lost to Sam Peter (TKO 2) and journeymen Maurice Harris (23-14-2 coming in).
That was his second loss to a journeymen, as he lost to Marcellus Brown via disqualification. Aguilera is clearly thought of as an easy mark for Tarver and should be if Tarver has anything left.
Aguilera was thought of somewhat of a prospect after the win over Maskaev, but that thought was quickly thrown out with the convincing loss to Peter.
Tarver, on the other hand, seemed to be in retirement and was carving out a nice niche for himself as an announcer on Showtime—a job that I personally feel he does very well.
At any rate, he is back in the ring and setting his sights on what was once the grandest prize of them all, the heavyweight title of the world.
He is only 3-3 in his last six fights and two of those wins have come against total journeymen fighters. The three losses have come to the two best fighters he has faced.
Granted the two fighters are very good ones, it would appear he is done at the top level. Tarver, even at 42 years old, should have better than average hand speed for the heavyweight division.
His power was never really a huge asset for him, and he hasn’t knockout out a top fighter since the legendary knockout win over Roy Jones Jr. in 2004.
His chin was great at light heavyweight and should hold up even at heavyweight, but does any of this really matter? A win for Tarver this weekend really doesn’t mean much of anything.
He is old and a even a knockout win over a fringe heavyweight isn’t going to do much for his stock. He has seemed pretty lethargic in his last few fights and having no weight limit shouldn’t help that.
It will also be interesting to see what kind of shape he comes in. Usually when fighters move up to the heavyweight division, they lack the drive to make a weight limit anymore.
Even if Tarver wins—and I suspect he will—it will be much of nothing. Tarver has decent reach for the heavyweight level with at 75”.
This would still put him at an almost six-inch reach disadvantage against Klitschko. If he is making this move to fight David Haye, then he would only be at a three-inch disadvantage.
This move could very well be banking on Haye beating the overmatched Audley Harrison, and then making one last money fight for the heavyweight title.
If that is his plan, then it isn’t a bad one and it is a plan that could see him win the heavyweight title. It would also match the feat of his rival Roy Jones, Jr.
Maybe he figures that Mason “The Line” Dixon is a little more fact then fiction.
This was originally written for and published on www.kissingthecanvas.com.