Tarver: "I'm going to destroy everything

By G. Leon


Tarver: "I'm going to destroy everything

Antonio Tarver alleges foul play caused loss to Hopkins

GL: You make your Showtime debut against Elvir Muriqi on June 9, tell us about it. "It's Showtime baby! I'm feeling real good right now and I'm putting the whole boxing world on notice that the Magic Man is back. It's been a long time coming and I feel real good about where I'm at right now. There's been a lot of things brought up during these press conferences and conference calls, but my whole thing is I'm ready and I'm back. I'm back where I started in Tampa, Florida and everybody around me is here to give me the best chance to win. We have a tough guy in front of us with Elvir Muriqi. I respect his desires and dreams but the buck stops here. I'm back and I'm taking this fight as though it was my first fight, that's the excitement that I have within. Unfortunately for him it's his name on the marquee with mine.

"A win is out of the question for him. I've been getting great sparring and I haven't taken this guy lightly. My weight is right there, I'm only five pounds away from 175 and I'm eating everyday, three meals a day. I'm taking my vitamin supplements and I'm ready. I hated that the fight got postponed but this is D-Day and I'm ready to set Hartford, Connecticut on fire. We've got another young champion under me, Chad Dawson.

"Chad has been talking a lot and I want to speak on that. I want to speak on the Hopkins fight and I want to speak on the state of the game right now. I'm what the game has been missing right now. They need to take that pound for pound division and throw it in the garbage because it makes no sense. On June 9 they're going to see what real skills are all about."

GL: As an elite level fighter is a victory over Muriqi not enough, must you look impressive?

Antonio Tarver: "I think everybody knows my place in the division but I'm going to put a stamp on my place in the division, not only in this fight but every fight after that. This is my final lap around the game and when it ends it ends. Right now this is all about getting the respect of my peers and the legends that have come before me. I want to be mentioned in the same breath's as the Bob Foster's and Archie Moore's. I want to be considered as the best light heavyweight to ever step in the ring once I'm done fighting. That's what we're embarking on right here for this, the final chapter of my illustious career."

GL: WBC champ Chad Dawson is fighting on the same card. Boxing fans want to know where he fits in on your things to do list if you're victorious over Muriqi.

AT: "I got a lot of respect for Chad and he's shown a lot of respect for me. I'm not going to to hold it against him that he's going some ingrates working for him as far as his manager and promoter are concerned. They're doing this guy an injustice. I got to the dais his manager tried to ambush me talking about I'm ducking Dawson, but I duck nobody. This guy just won the title and he had to get off the seat of his pants to do that and he looked good doing it. But that don't make him no world class champion. He needs to fight someone of notoriety before we pass the torch. It's my time and anybody Gary Shaw seems to work with he gets their head chopped off prematurely.

"He done killed more careers and ruined more fighters than anybody I know, so he should let Dawson mature before he ruins him too. Right now that's a premature discussion. How the hell can anyone duck Chad Dawson when he's been champion for four months? What I want to know is who's ducking Chad and for what? I don't see it and I don't understand it."

GL: You said Gary Shaw ruins fighters, does Jeff Lacy, who you mentioned as a possible foe for a September fight, fit that bill?

AT: "I'm not going to say he ruined him but it was premature for Lacy to go over there to England to fight Joe Calzaghe. After fighting the caliber of fighters he fought, they tried to roll the dice and get lucky and the fighter ends up suffering because the promoter ends up going to promote someone else and they're on the verge of doing the same thing with Chad Dawson. Let the guy mature and get all of the experience that he needs before they think about fighting a beast like me. I'm not in this game to ruin fighters but if they leave me no other choice then I must. And they're talking like they got some real money out there, but I don't know if Gary Shaw can pay me enough to fight Chad Dawson.

GL: Who do you like in Hopkins-wright and is the winner of that fight the guy you want the most?

AT: "I don't want nobody the most. I'm still the guy in this division and they all know that because if they didn't they'd be calling Hopkins name. I'm going to go on record and say that I have Hopkins his credibility and and I'm going to be the man who takes it away. He knows he didn't face Antonio Tarver. He doesn't even know what it feels like to be in the ring with me.

"I'm also going to go on record and say that I don't know what the hell happened in Atlantic City. My sister brought up a point that I could have been poisoned. Anything could been have been tampered with. My food or drink, I'm eating room service and we know about his connections in Atlantic City, there's no way in hell I go in to a fight of that magnitude and fall flat on my face. And it ain't have nothing to do with Bernard Hopkins. I want to go on record as saying that. And everytime the motherfucker talks boxing he has to mention my name to get credibility. Keep my name out his mouth and he'll be transparent, you'll see right through that motherfucker.

"If he's fortunate enough to get by WinkY Wright then he's in the sweepstakes. I would love to see the rematch but I'm not fitting to chase Bernard Hopkins because I don't have to. If he wants to be a businessman about it we can do it again just like we did it the last time. If we don't do it that way then there's no deal, there's no fight. I'm still going to move on. If they're silly enough to put Calzaghe in the ring with me I'm going to destroy him. If they're silly enough to put Chad Dawson in the ring with me, I'm going destroy him. I'm going to destroy everything that steps in the ring with me until I step away from this game starting with Elvir Muriqi. Point blank, period."


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