Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Pt I

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Antonio Tarver Pt I

Tarver discusses ALL of his future options in full detail!

GL: Congrats Antonio. How do you feel about your performance? "First of all, it's just astonishing to me that this late in the game, at age 36, I'm still able to improve. I think that fight indicated that. I don't think anyone, in all of my fights as a professional has seen that kind of intensity and focus from me. I credit Buddy McGirt, who is obviously a great trainer and it was like we were the same mind that night.  When I look back at all of the hard work that I put in, it was truly gratifying to have my hand raised and see the people appreciate the performance. I know the fans at the FedEx Forum enjoyed themselves and I hope all of the fans who tuned in thought it was a great fight too. When I'm at my best I haven't been beaten and that's a testament to my will, skill and the gift that God gave me. I'm thankful that we were able to get the rematch immediately because we had to right that wrong to move on to bigger and better things."

GL: Although I felt you won the first fight with Johnson, you didn't come out very aggressively. However, this time around you dictated the tempo of the fight from round one and swept the early rounds. How important was it for you to come out fast and back Johnson up from the outset?

Antonio Tarver: "That was a big part of the plan. I didn't want him to get any confidence and I didn't want him to think for one moment that he truly had a chance to win that fight. I wanted to come out and let him know that I was head and shoulders above him. I could beat him standing toe-to-toe, I could beat him by using my boxing ability and being elusive.

"I feel I showed all facets of my game. You saw me fight off the ropes, you saw me push him to the ropes. You saw me box, you saw me counter, you saw me let my hands go in beautiful combinations. I told the world that I mastered my game and that was just the beginning."

"I still feel that I showed a little bit of the brilliance that is Antonio Tarver, but we've definitely scratched the surface. It's going to take a huge challenge for Antonio Tarver to show these people what I'm truly made of. And that was a big challenge. The guy is truly deserving of all the accolades that he received last year, but this is a new year. It's 05 and that victory was very important."

GL: In many of those rounds you were letting your hands go like a light heavyweight Kassim Ouma. I've never seen you let your hands go like that, you've pretty much been known as a tall defensive minded southpaw with pop. Can we expect more of that from you in the future?

Antonio Tarver: "I wanted to show the people that my talent goes beyond being labeled. I wanted to give myself a gut check, get in the ring and let it all go. There's no limit to the heights that you could reach if you believe in yourself. But right now I'm not looking to rest on my laurels, I'm looking to move forward with my career, test myself and get the most out of this thing. Like I said, we're just now scratching the surface so the fans could count on the Magic Man having a few more tricks up my sleeve."



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