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Tarver Wants Shot At Calzaghe

By Chris Thomas: In the latest boxing news, former WBC/WBA light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver (26-4, 19 KOs) wants a fight with the undefeated super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, who is currently getting prepared for his next bout against light heavweight Bernard Hopkins. Tarver, at 39 years-old, would figure to be in the last stages of his career. However, given the fact that the light heavyweight division is perhaps the weakest in all of boxing, he finds himself as still one of the best fighters in the division.

At one time, not too long ago, Tarver was arguably the best fight of the light heavyweights, but that window of time quickly passed with the coming of International Boxing Federation light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson and World Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei, both of whom I consider a lot better than Tarver at this stage of his career.

Tarver has done little to distinguish himself in recent years, certainly not enough to warrant a bout with Calzaghe. In 2006, Tarver had a shot at Hopkins, but was badly out-classed and ended up on the short end of a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision loss. Since then, Tarver has done next to nothing to redeem himself, instead fighting a couple of B-level fighters Elvir Muriqi and Danny Santiago, both of whom he beat.

Unfortunately, that’s not the type of fighters that Tarver needed to be fighting in order to keep his name in the spotlight, and to erase the stench of his one-sided loss to Hopkins. For that to have happened, Tarver needed to have fought Chad Dawson, who has been steadily calling out Tarver for the past year with no luck. As things work out, Tarver may indeed end up fighting Dawson anyway, because of the light heavyweight tournament that the Tarver, Dawson, Glen Johnson and Woods are taking part in. Tarver challenges Clinton Woods, the IBF light heavyweight champion on April 12, and Dawson goes up against the 39 year-old Johnson on the same date. The two winners of the tournament will go up against each other at a latter date.

One would assume that Tarver would be one of the fighters in the final championship match, though that’s not a given because Woods, even at 35, is a tough match-up for Tarver. However, for the sake of argument, if Tarver does beat Woods and end up likely fighting Dawson, then I’d give him almost zero chance at beating Dawson. Sure, Tarver woud get lucky and land a big left hand like he did against Roy Jones Jr., in his 2nd round KO of Jones in May 2004. I don’t see it happening, though, because Dawson isn’t shot like Jones was, and is very hard to hit, especially in the early rounds.

As such, I see Tarver losing badly to Dawson, and thus taking away any chance that he could possibly have in fighting Calzaghe. Other than that, the only way I see Calzaghe even possibly fighting him would be if Tarver skipped fighting Dawson, and got lucky by having Calzaghe show interest in fighting him. Probably not going to happen, because a victory by Tarver over Woods won’t be that big of a deal, mainly because Woods isn’t well known outside of Europe.

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