It’s been almost 25 years since Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones Jr. crossed paths for the first time, and from their first fight as 13-year-old amateurs, they have been indelibly linked in the minds of boxing fans and each other. But on Saturday, October 1st, at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, this journey comes to an end, as the two premier light heavyweights of this era meet for the third time to determine who the superior fighter truly is. “I have to commend Roy Jones for coming back and saying "I want Antonio Tarver, I want the best,” said light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. “He could have had the opportunity to come up and fight someone to pad his record or just to get fans excited, but he wants to come to the mountaintop to try to knock the king off.”
In their first battle, on November 8, 2003, Jones won a hard fought decision over Tarver in a stirring 12 rounder; it was a verdict which split many boxing fans. But in their May 15, 2004 rematch, Tarver got revenge with a stirring second round knockout that was preceded by the now legendary pre-fight comment by "The Magic Man", “You got any excuses tonight, Roy?” On October 1st, in a bout to be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View (9pm ET / 6pm PT), there will be “No Excuses”, and that’s just the way Tarver wants it. “Roy has come up and said this is it, this is all or nothing." And that’s what makes this fight interesting,” said Tarver. “It’s no excuses. After October 1st, it will be what it will be.”
And despite the decisive nature of the rematch result, Tarver is treating this fight and his opponent with the respect they deserve, because throughout boxing history there have been countless examples of great fighters still having one great performance left in them. “I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I’m going in here and I can expect a knockout,” said Tarver. “When I caught Roy, it was just one of those perfect punches that would have knocked anyone out. He is one of the all-time greats in this sport, and I am training as such. On October 1st, I’m expecting to face a prime Roy Jones at his best; I will not let up mentally in training one bit.”
Tarver’s longtime trainer Buddy McGirt agrees.
“Our focus is clear in this fight, and my only worry is keeping Antonio OUT of the gym,” said McGirt. “As soon as this fight was mentioned, Antonio and I began working on our game plan, and we’re ready for our toughest camp ever. Roy Jones Jr. is a dangerous fighter and to overlook him would be foolish.” And even though Jones may have been a no-show at the recent press conferences to officially announce this highly anticipated bout, Tarver doesn’t see these absences as a sign of disrespect. To him, it’s a sign that Jones is preparing for the fight of his life. “Everyone knows I don’t mind talking to the media and being the center of attention,” laughs Tarver. “I enjoy it, and its part of being a superstar in this game. So to me, Roy not showing up at the press conferences is a good thing because it shows me that he’s taking this fight very seriously, and that he is bringing his ‘A’ game on October 1st. He’s gonna need it, because I’m doing the same.”
Tarver’s promoter, Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, also believes that Jones’ press conference no-shows are a good sign for boxing fans.
“I know in my gut that Roy is training as hard, if not harder, than he ever has,” said DeGuardia. “He has a warrior’s spirit, and it’s been tough for him to deal with losing to Antonio. The fact that Roy is already in camp, and that Antonio is already training with the intensity of a man who continues to itch for a fight with Roy Jones Jr. means this fight on October 1st is going to be one of the most memorable we’ve seen.” In the end, for Tarver, his dedication to training and to winning the rubber match against Jones impressively comes down to one word – respect. He wants it by proving once and for all that the top light heavyweight of this era is The Magic Man".
“My motivation is that that I feel respect hasn’t been given to me, and that people have not seriously crowned me as a superstar in this game of boxing,” said Tarver. “So I’ve got to stay motivated, and I got to stay hungry. On October 1st, it will be the end of one legend and the beginning of another.”
Tickets for “No Excuses”, Tarver-Jones Jr. 3 , are available now at the McDONALD’S BOX OFFICE at the St. Pete Times Forum and all Ticketmaster Outlets including Spec’s Music and FYE. To order tickets by phone call Ticketmaster at 813.287.8844 or 727.898.2100 or log on to www.ticketmaster.com
. Tickets are priced at $600, $350, $200, $100, $50, and $25, and limited VIP ringside seats are available. Prices do not include service charges. For more information please call 813.301.2500. For dinner reservations at Medallions Restaurant on the night of the match please call 813.301.6926.
The Tarver vs. Jones 3 pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9pm ET/6pm PT on October 1, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to over 50 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry.