Decisions Johnson over 12 hard rounds



By Scott Shaffer

In a bout of building intensity at Memphis, Tennessee, Antonio Tarver started strong then dug down deep and pulled out the light heavyweight world championship by scores of 116-112 (twice) and 115-113. The four major sanctioning bodies all recognize lesser boxers as champions, but real boxing fans and the IBO know that this bout decided the ruler in the 175-pound division.  Tarver built an early lead, but Johnson, egged on by trainer, the underrated Orlando Cuellar, pressed forward with ever-increasing desperation and clawed his way back into the fight. The eleventh round was a memorable one as the fighters traded heavy punches with Johnson seeming to get the better of the action. Tarver seemed tired in the twelfth, but fought very intelligently, landing jabs from the outside and clutching on the inside. Overall, Compubox's Punchstat numbers validated the scorecards, as Tarver was much busier, throwing 851 punches overall and outlanding Johnson 218-149.  At 28-3, Tarver is the modern-day master of the rematch, having avenged all three of his losses. Johnson drops to 42-10-2, but for once it was nice to see him lose without being robbed of a victory. Always the gentleman, Johnson acknowldeged Tarver was the better man on Saturday.

Andre Ward TKO3 Ben Aragon... Earlier, Andre Ward, the lone American boxer to win a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, won his fourth straight bout as a professional, stopping Ben Aragon, 4-3-1, in the third round. Aragon was hurt and staggering around the ring when the referee stopped the middleweight bout.