Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Pt 2

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Pt 2

Tarver to Roy: "Hopkins can't give you no vindication, I'm the only person in the world who can give that to you!"

"I just want to get back to work. This weekend I'm going to Atlantic City for that super fight and on Tuesday I'm going to the BET Awards and then I'm right back in the gym. I have my strength and conditioning coach here with me in Tampa and we're just looking forward to the next challenge. And that's what I did differently, I challenged myself in camp but I went past pain Greg, because I wanted to give those fans that I think I let down in December redemption. I didn't prepare properly for that fight and I wasn't 110%. The lesson that I learned with all of this is that I can't cheat myself anymore. I look at guys like Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr., guys that have done it consistently for so long, and they deserve all the credit in the world that. It's so very easy to get caught up and not be prepared, but the people pay too much money for us not to be professionals and disciplined about our careers." Members click here to see what else the three time light heavyweight king had to say.

"I felt like I let my fans, friends and family down when I didn't give them a convincing win over Glen Johnson and I made it up to them and that's the Tarver you're going to see from now on."

"I'm 36 years old and I don't know how much longer I'll be able to fight at this level, but as long as I can fight on this level, that's how long I'm going to fight. I'm not going to cheat myself anymore. This is my life, this is my career and I'm going to take it seriously. Next week I'm getting right back to work and that's what time it is. I'm hungry still and I'm going to continue to build on my legacy as a great fighter."

GL: Obviously the third fight Johnson is a possibility, but is that fight your preference? And if it isn't, which fight is?

Antonio Tarver: "I don't have a preference right now. I think I just solidified myself as the best light heavyweight in the world right now. I was listening to all of the rumblings that were out there before the fight and I'm still listening. These people need to recognize that I've paid my dues, I worked so hard to get here. I fought everybody they put in front of me and I've beaten everybody they put in front of me. I haven't had any soft touches and I'm not looking for any. I think it's time for HBO to market me and showcase me.

"That's what they've done with other marquee fighters and I want that type of love now. I think that I deserve it. I also want my championships back. Even though I am the light heavyweight champion of the world, there's a no name fighter out there with the WBC title, a no name fighter out there with the IBF title and another no name fighter out there with the WBA title. Those titles should rightfully be mine and I want my titles back. But right now I want to relax on that."

"Roy Jones Jr. was hollering Bernard Hopkins and I don't understand how he could have the audacity to fix his lips to say something like that. I gave him props after the fight, but he got knocked out in his last two fights, do you really think the people are going to buy into a fight with him going down in weight to fight Hopkins? He already beat Hopkins, Hopkins can't give you no vindication, I'm the only person in the world who can give you vindication."

"All roads lead to me if he wants to get back in that ring. He shouldn't even try to fool the public with this bullshit. He should stay behind the mic, but once again he's talking about coming back and still trying to avoid his toughest challenge, which is me. But after seeing my last performance in living color, I wouldn't want nothing to do with me either."

GL: After you knocked Jones out last May, you were strongly considering fighting at heavyweight. Is that still an option?

AT: "Nothing is ever out of the question Greg. There's a lot of small heavyweights out there and if a fight could materialize that's worth something it could be worth looking at. Chris Byrd is still out there with a lot of credibility, and that's the kind of fight that I'd be interested in if it could be done. But a fight at heavyweight would have to happen with the respect that I am one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time.

"They were considering Roy as one of the best and I feel my record speaks for itself. If I get that respect, and you know everything is about the dollars, something can get done. Over 12,000 people showed up to watch me redeem myself and I think what sets me above the rest is that I can sell and market a fight. But HBO needs to get behind me and push me."

"I'm ready to blow up for real Greg and my focused never wavered in that fight. That's the type of focus that I will continue to carry with me for the rest of my career."

GL: Earlier you spoke on the possibility of Jones-Hopkins II and said Roy shouldn't fight a smaller guy when he could get his vindication from you. On the flipside of that, Hopkins has come on the record saying he's interested in the winner of you're fight with Johnson...

AT: (cutting in) "Actually, I truly believe in my heart of all hearts that a fight with me and Hopkins would be bigger than Hopkins and Roy. But Greg, what makes you think Hopkins wants to fight me? Haven't we gone through this already, he wasn't serious the first time and I don't think he's serious now. He was only talking like that because Glen Johnson was on top, now I don't think he'll really want to address that."

"First of all Hopkins has to get by Jermain Taylor, if he does that the challenge he should accept is against my man Winky Wright.  The people shouldn't be bamboozled, Hopkins and Jones fighting again would be robbing the public of their finances for a fight that means nothing."

"If Hopkins wants the fight to get the whole world excited, he'll come see me or my man Winky Wright. But he turned me down time and time again and I don't think he'll fight my man Wink either."

"Winky has paid his dues and if anyone deserves a fight with Hopkins it would be Winky. Hopkins is the champion at middleweight but Winky is the fight to let the world know who the best middleweight in the world is."