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Tarver vs. Lacy On April 12th

International Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver (26-4, 19 KOs) is reportedly preparing for a bout against former International Boxing Federation super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy (23-1, 17 KOs) on April 12th, possibly to take place at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. Lacy, 30, was at one time one of the top super middleweights in the division, that is, until he met up with Joe Calzaghe, who pounded Lacy without mercy, beating him by an easy one-sided 12-round unanimous decision on March 4th, 2006.

Ranked #11 in the International Boxing Federation, Lacy has fought little since his humiliating loss to Calzaghe, winning a gift majority decision against Vitali Tsypko in December 2006, a bout in which Lacy tore up his left rotator cuff, which needed extensive surgery, keeping Lacy out of action for a year. He came back recently against Peter Manfredo Jr., winning a lackluster 10-round unanimous decision over the former star of ‘The Contender’ reality television boxing series. Lacy looked poor in the bout, his once devastating left hook now gone, having to rely almost exclusively on his right hand to win the bout.

Though Lacy has a good right hand, it’s never been his knockout punch, as he’s mostly used his left hook to score knockouts. Now with his left hook gone, most likely for good, he only has a jab and a semi-powerful right hand with which to contend with against Tarver. The good news for Lacy is that Tarver, now 39 years-old, isn’t the same fighter he was a several years ago when he stopped Roy Jones Jr. in a brutal 2nd round knockout.

Tarver lost an embarrassing 12-round unanimous decision to Bernard Hopkins in June 2006, and since then, Tarver has been reluctant to take on top 10 fighters, opting to fight Elvir Muriqi and Danny Santiago after a year away from boxing. During his year off, Tarver acted in the Sylvester Stallone movie “Rocky Balboa.” Chad Dawson, the World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion, has been calling out Tarver for the past year, but so far he’s had little luck in getting Tarver to accept his challenge.

Some people have been saying in the Internet boxing forums that Tarver is afraid of Dawson, and that he’ll never fight him, knowing that he’d experience another one-sided loss similar to the one that he suffered against Hopkins. Whatever the case, Lacy is clearly the type of opponent that will likely make Tarver look good against, as Lacy isn’t in most people’s estimation the same fighter he was pre-Calzaghe.

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