Light heavyweight king Antonio "The Magic Man" Tarver told Boxingtalk.com, "I did my world tour, I've done all of my charity work and now it's time to put things back into perspective. I know that the only reason I was able to do all of those things was because of my success in the ring. That's first and foremost. We're definitely going to get my body right back into tip-top shape, with the mission in mind being to stay right where I'm at, which is on top of the game. There have been a lot of new champions that have emerged this year. You can honestly say that boxing has several new faces that have really made a stand this year. Winky Wright made a statement against Shane Mosley and my good friend Diego Corrales stepped it up as only true champions can. It's out with the old and in with the new. People are stepping up and it's time for people to realize that there's a new era in boxing."
"We're embarking on new times right now. You can turn back any boxing magazine and you'll see the only HBO fighters doing their thing are Mayweather and Klitschko who recently signed with them. De La Hoya can make his case as one of the best fighters of his era with a very over Bernard Hopkins, but other than that some guys have gotten knocked out but they continue to hold onto these lucrative HBO contracts.
"I think that it's time for HBO to look inside their house and recognize that it needs cleaning. HBO, as the biggest name in boxing needs to move on and grab hold of the guys like Winky, myself and Diego who are going to carry boxing into 2005 and beyond. If they claim to have the best fighters in the world, those are three of the names we need to be seeing on HBO on a regular basis. Outside of Klitschko and Mayweather they have nothing out there. The guys carrying the game should be recognized and rewarded.
"But Antonio Tarver is training hard and I will continue to bring the magic to the boxing fans...the magic that they saw on May 15. I'm eager to get back into the ring, there's some personal issues that I'm ironing out which will be satisfied in the next few weeks, but we're going to be planning a big news conferences after that's taken care of to let the people know which direction we're headed and where I stand.
"If all else fails I'm ready to defend and honor my championship, the WBC championship, as well as the Ring Magazine Championship. I'm ready to defend that against anyone whose willing to step up that has proven themself worthy. A lot of people are out there calling my name...from Klitschko to Tyson, to Calzaghe, to Hopkins to Toney. I have a lot of options, I hear them talking but I don't see them coming to the table. I'm willing to fight anybody from light heavyweight to heavyweight. It's open season for me. There's a lot of ducks out there that need to be plucked and I can't wait till the powers that be sit down and really see what they want from Antonio Tarver because I aim to please.
"I understand this is a tough game but I'm not fitting to sit on my laurels and protect my status. I won't do that, there will be no Roy Jones bum of the month circuit. At 35 years old I'm working to cement my legacy which began on May 15. I'm a trendsetter, I'm not a follower. It's all about risk because the reward won't be big if you're not taking a risk. Toney, Calzaghe, Hopkins, Klitschko, Roy...I don't care which one they want me to fight, I'm ready to go in any direction they want to as long as they pay me properly.
"I will continue to prove that I'm the best by far. This isn't an overnight success. I've worked very hard to get where I am, all I needed was the opportunity to prove myself more than worthy while gaining the respect and credibility one needs to solidify himself as a superstar in the game of boxing. I beat the man, so that makes me the man and I'm going to bring that magic only I can bring everytime I step through those ropes. I will not let myself or the boxing fans down." GL: That might be the first two-part no question interview...(laugh)
AT: "Y'all haven't heard from me in a while on Boxingtalk.com, but I'm back in the mix and I'm back in the fold. I just had to give it to you like that G. It's all about the fans giving me the love they've given. That's special. I've gotten love from the fans everywhere I've gone. The fans have truly recognized me as one of the best in the game today. When times is tough and things are tough, it's the fans that wake me up on those morning's at 5:30 when I don't want to wake up."
Things Get Hot In Part II, Stay Tuned, because it's dropping tomorrow morning.
SEE WHAT ELSE ONE OF THE WORLD'S BEST HAD TO SAY IN PART ONE OF TIHS MUST READ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
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