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Dillian Whyte interested in Antonio Tarver fight

Antonio Tarver

By Scott Gilfoid: Heavyweight prospect Dillian Whyte (17-1, 14 KOs) is in need of an opponent for his next fight date on July 30 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. Whyte says he’s be interested in fighting 47-year-old former light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs) on that fight card.

That would obviously be a short notice thing for Tarver if he were to take the 28-year-old Whyte up on his offer. It’s hard to imagine Tarver agreeing to the fight under those kind of circumstances, but it’s always possible.

Tarver is a pretty fearless guy. Whyte needs to think twice about taking a veteran like Tarver, because I believe he would lose this fight. Whyte still doesn’t seem to have regained the use of his left arm after undergoing shoulder surgery last December.

In Whyte’s fight against Ivica Bacurin on June 25, Whyte rarely used his left arm other than for jabbing. Even his jab wasn’t good. The once powerful left hook that was a huge staple of Whyte’s offense, is now gone. For the most part, Whyte doesn’t throw left hooks any longer. I saw Whyte throw a few left hooks against Bacurin, and they were thrown in a gingerly way without much power or speed.

Whyte didn’t seem to have much flexibility in his shoulder when throwing left hooks. The power wasn’t there, and he looked like someone that was only able to get a tiny fraction of the use of his arm. Frankly, I don’t even know why Whyte took the fight, because if that’s how his left shoulder is going to be in his future fights, then I can’t see him beating anyone remotely good. Tarver beats Whyte in my opinion, and beats him easily.

“If he wants it, call Eddie Hearn. I’d love to fight these guys,” said Whyte about Tarver to “You have to fight at least one legend from the era before you and Tarver was a great champion. So for me to get his name on my record would be excellent. I think he thinks Dillian Whyte is a bit inexperienced and he can get in there and ‘old man’ me out of the fight but listen: I’ll smash him to pieces.”

I don’t see Whyte smashing anyone to bits, least of all someone like Tarver. I mean, Tarver isn’t the same fighter he was 15 years ago, but he’s still more than a handful at this point in his career. More importantly, Tarver has full use of both hands. He’s not a one-armed fighter like Whyte. Last August, Tarver fought former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham to a 12 round draw.

I thought Tarver pretty good in that fight for a fighter 46-years-old and fighting in a division that is two divisions above his best weight class at light heavyweight. Tarver gave Cunningham all he could handle. This is the same Cunningham that gave WBO World cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki major problems in their fight last April.

Glowacki won the fight by knocking Cunningham down four times, but in the rounds where Glowacki wasn’t scoring knockdowns, he was being outworked by Cunningham. For Tarver to fight Cunningham to a standstill at his age, I thought that was very, very impressive. I think Cunningham and Tarver both beat Whyte at this point. I mean, I don’t think they would be able to hang with Whyte if he had the full strength and the full use in his left shoulder, but he clearly doesn’t at this point.

Before Whyte suffered his shoulder injury, I think he would have beaten Cunningham, Tarver and Anthony Joshua. But he’s not going to be able to beat any of those guys fighting with just one arm, because his right hand isn’t powerful enough for him to take those fighters out. Whtye’s power was pretty much just in his left hook, and without that weapon, he’s just a slow, pudgy-looking fighter.

“The world title fights are there but I’m focused on myself. I’m about three or four fights away. This year is about me rehabilitating myself and working on my conditioning. It’s improving. Next year, I definitely want a world title fight – 100 per cent,” said Whyte.

Honestly, I think Whyte should forget about a world title fight unless he can gain back the power and range of motion in his left shoulder. Right now, I see Whyte being clowned by heavyweight champions Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. He’s not going to beat any of those guys fighting with just one arm. He’s got to have both arms, and he needs full strength in his left shoulder.

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