Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Part II

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Part II

GL: So if you can't get the money you're looking for at heavyweight.. Antonio Tarver: (cutting in) "No, if I can't get the money I'm looking for against Mike Tyson. I understand that the heavyweight picture is at an all time low. I understand there are not too many marquee fighters up there, but when I do what I do to Mike Tyson I will be that marquee guy. I will be the fighter to transcend the heavyweight division out of the gutter. Because after Mike Tyson I want James Toney. And after I beat James Toney, I'm going to bring Vitali Klitschko out of retirement. Don't these people understand what I'm telling them? Realize my dream and try to see the picture through my eyes."

GL: It's interesting you mentioned James. With regards to your demanding 50-50 with Tyson, he said you're a punk, you don't want no parts of Tyson and you damn sure don't want nothing to do with him. How do you respond?

Antonio Tarver: "Any punk got an opinion. He's going to get his, all he has to do is be patient. He's a wannabe bully. Well I knock bullies out. It's been proven."

GL: Do you expect Toney to defeat Rahman?

Antonio Tarver: "It would be a blessing if he did but it ain't no guarantee."

GL: Can you give us some thoughts on Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins fighting each other on March 11?

Antonio Tarver: "You know what? They deserve each other. They haven't won a fight in the last five fights between them so one of them is about to get on a winning streak."

GL: If you're going to fight Mike Tyson on PPV, HBO's PPV calendar is booked through June. Would you stay out of action that long or would you look to take a fight in the interim?

Antonio Tarver: "If we can make this fight I think HBO would accommodate us for any date. They'd make room for this one. Who says they can't do two PPV's in a month. I would think HBO wants to bring this to the people as soon as possible. But if that's the case and we have to wait till June it's not the end of the world, because I could use the time to continue to grow into a bonafide heavyweight. I want Mike Tyson, I want James Toney to be successful against Rahman and then I want to bring Vitali Klitschko out of retirement for my final fight in 2007."

GL: If you're vision is beating Mike Tyson, James Toney and Vitali Klitschko, shouldn't you be doing everything in your power to make those fights happen? And is asking for parity doing everything your power to make it happen?

Antonio Tarver: "Asking for parity is more than fair. I'm not going to pay this guy for what he used to do. He used to do 700,000 buys. The only guarantee I'm willing to give is that we could split whatever money we could get. I'm willing to take the risk at 50-50, nothing less. Mike is asking for $10M and he ain't made that much since he fought Lennox Lewis. He wants to make more off my back. The only way he gets $10M is if I give it to him and I'm not in the profession of giving away money, I did that with Roy Jones three times for this opportunity. All I want is to be treated fairly and be recognized as the great fighter that I am. I'm 37 years old and I can't give away nothing."

"I'm taking on a new name in 2006. I'm the Magic Man/Legend Killer. We killed one legend already and I'm going to kill another one if Tyson steps up and then I'm going to kill another one if James Toney steps up. I am the legend killer.

GL: So it sounds like light heavyweight remains a possibility?

Antonio Tarver: "It definitely is. My body has an unusual weight of snapping back. I'm carrying real weight right now but if I go back on my diet, I could make it back to 175. And if Mike Tyson doesn't step up I will pursue other avenues. I think me and Mike could come to an agreement on 50-50. We'll be able to give the people a great fight and a great promotion and at the same time I'll be able to show the people that Antonio Tarver truly belongs with the big boys. I'm here to tell the world I do and I have big dreams of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion. Whoever I have to go through, I'm willing to go through."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

Antonio Tarver: "I just want to thank the fans for giving me the respect as champion everywhere I go. It's because of the fans that we continue to do the things we do. I want to give them the best fights possible and I think it's a fight the fans could get behind and we could do some big things. Coming up short against Mike would be no shame but I'm eager to show the world that I not only belong at heavyweight, I can rule at heavyweight."


Send questions and comments to: gleon@Boxingtalk.com