Post Fight Interview With Antonio Tarver

By G. Leon


Post Fight Interview With Antonio Tarver

Disappointed Tarver Looking Forward To Rematch!

GL: Can you give us your thoughts on how the fight went down? "I trained, I thought I trained properly for the fight. We had a great game plan going in, and I take nothing away from Glen Johnson, he fought his fight, I felt that I gave him a lot of stuff that he shouldn't have been able to get. Just with me moving backwards a lot made it look like he was dictating the pace and being the aggressor, but I felt that I was dressed down in defense and I made him miss a lot. When I came on I let my hands go and I showed that I was in a different class. For whatever reason, I just didn't feel like I had that fire and it showed. We've got work to do, and I'm going to exercise the rematch clause. I don't think my hand is broken but we're going to get it x-rayed. I'm planning to come right back and it seems to me like I've always got to knock everybody out to win, if that's the hand I've been dealt that's what I'm going to have to start doing, knocking these people out. And it's all going to start with Glen Johnson in the rematch."

"I'm 2-0 with 2 KO's in rematches and I'm looking to make it three. Glen Johnson is going to have his day and we're going to see if he's man enough to get in there with me again."

GL: Is the rematch clause you've been referrring to an immediate rematch clause?

Antonio Tarver: "Yes, it's an immediate rematch clause. I stayed out of the gym too long before this fight. There might have been too much basking in the glory after the fights with Roy Jones Jr. and maybe that hindered me a little bit. We can always look back and see, and say that a lot of things should be done differently, but when you fight two rounds in a year it has to take it's toll.

"The guy was fresher than I was. He just came off his fight with Roy Jones and went right back to the gym to get ready for me. I think he was fresher and better prepared because for the past six months he's done nothing but boxed. With me having a six month layoff from the gym it took it's toll. I'm 36 and Buddy and I snapped back pretty good and put in some good work in camp, and we felt fresh and ready. I feel that I did more than enough to win the fight but it's clear that they're not looking for close fights with me, they're looking for me to knock everybody out."

GL: Many people, including myself, felt that is Johnson wouldn't last twelve rounds with you if he was going to fight aggressively. What enabled him to be the aggressor for most of the fight? It seemed like you were having trouble finding your distance.

AT: "When I got my distance I did find my form, but when I found it, I was unable to consistently sustain it. I think there's a lot of in house things I need to regroup and really recognize. I'm still young in this game, I've only got 24 fights so I still have room to learn and room to improve but it's all in house. I have to make some changes, get down to business and get more focused."

GL: What kind of changes?

AT: "Just a whole lot of distractions. I just need to continue to be hungry at all times. I just can feel like I can show up and get it done. I just need to change the way I prepare and look forward to a fight. It's life or death in there and it's a tough, tough sport. I could never get comfortable to the point where I don't really allow myself the 110% focus it takes for me to be at my best. I'm not trying to make any excuses, Glen did what he had to do. I felt I won the fight, but the judges thought otherwise. I don't feel like I've lost anything, but in the rematch I have something to prove."

GL: It sounds like you're almost admitting that you got a little too caught into the hype following the Jones fight in May. Is that the case?

AT: "Like I said, I stayed out too long. I campaigned and I basked in the glory, but in this game you must continue to prepare. That's why I commend guys like Bernard Hopkins who always stay in the gym and always work. I let myself go and I paid for it. Putting on the pounds and coming down in weight, one of the biggest lessons I've learned through this is that I've always got to keep myself in shape. Right after the Holiday's I'm getting my ass back to the gym and we're going to start preparing for this rematch.

"I believe that it was a hell of a fight and we gave the people what they wanted, so there has to be a rematch. You win some, you lose some, but I'm looking forward to the rematch. It's a bigger fight now that we've put on the show that we did and we're going to give it back to them. I'll be in better prepared physically and mentally and we're going to take it back from him."

GL: How does this effect that HBO deal you were looking forward to signing? If that situation isn't looking as promising now as it was before last night, can you explain the disappointment, if any, that you must be feeling right now.

AT: "If HBO doesn't recognize that I'm still a marquee fighter, an A fighter and one of the best, the fight itself doesn't take away from my ability. I think they know that I'm in a position to get right back on top. The rematch clause is out there in the contract. We didn't look past Johnson and we went in this fight covering all bases. There will be a rematch and it will be on HBO and right now that's all I'm focused on."

GL: By basking in the glory and taking eight months off in between fights, did you cheat yourself from putting on your best performance?

AT: "You never know how your body is going to respond, but I know one thing, I know it's best that a fighter stay active and busy. But we're definitely not going to have those problems next time around."

GL: Some people are going to look at this and say that Jones fight was a mirage because Roy was already a spent fighter coming into the ring. How will you respond to such criticism and other negativity that might get flung your way following this loss?

AT: "Well, I think that's still to be determined. I will say that Roy Jones Jr. lost to two great fighters. Roy Jones is not invincible, Antonio Tarver is not invincible and Glen Johnson is not invincible. Anybody could beat anybody on any given night, and that's what makes the sport of boxing so great.

"I'm still here, I'm still amongst the elite and I will prove, once again, that I have what champions are made of, and the ability to come back and recapture what I should have never lost in the first place. I'm disappointed at the outcome, but you live and learn and I'm definitely going to be better next time out."


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