Tarver Stops Santiago In Four

antonio tarverBill Calogero, - Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver stopped Danny Santiago in the fourth round of their scheduled 12-round Light Heavyweight fight to retain his IBO Light Heavyweight Title. The contest was the main event at the beautiful FoxWoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, CT and was broadcast live on ShowTime. Gary Shaw Productions in association with the FoxWoods Resort promoted the show.

Tarver did not look great, but was able to stop an opponent he was “supposed” to stop. From the beginning of the fight, until it was stopped, Tarver was able to use his height advantage and jab to keep Santiago out of harms way, however during most of the fight, looked extremely tentative and stiff. He was not flowing easily and did not look comfortable at all..

Santiago lunged forward during the fight, throwing wild punches to the head and body of Tarver. Not many landed and none seemed to ever hurt the “Magic Man”. Tarver threw crisp body shots and did land his jab, but nothing seemed hard or very powerful. There were a lot of “pitter-pat” punches thrown, and landed, but Antonio Tarver, in my opinion seemed very tight.

When the third round began, Tarver came out with seemly more “purpose” and attempted to put some power behind his punches. It worked. Antonio was able to land several hard hooks to Santiago’s body and then added a devastating uppercut, followed by a right-left-right combination to Danny Santiago’s head, which clearly stunned him as the round came to an end.

During most of the fourth round, to me, Tarver was STILL very tentative and was not throwing punches with much behind them. Then, as if an alarm went off, a short powerful body shot, followed by a devastating uppercut and a crisp right-left-right combination to the head sent Danny Santiago down.

He was up by the count of eight, but still seemed to be stunned. He was allowed to continue, and for the first time in the fight, Tarver attacked Santiago with a purpose; to take him out. A barrage of punches thrown from all angles, landing on the body and head of Danny Santiago, again sent him to the canvas, this time face first. As he attempted to get up, referee Steve Smoger stopped the bout officially at 2:53 of the fourth round.

Antonio Tarver improves to 26-4 (19 KOs) and hopes to get another crack at a World Title, preferably Chad Dawson’s WBC belt. At 39 years of age, and after watching him in his last two fights, I personally think he will challenge for a world title, but will never own one again.

Danny Santiago drops to 29-4-1 (19 KOs) and showed he is one tough fighter, but was definitely not ready to jump up to the top fighters in the division. Despite Tarver’s obvious decline in his boxing ability still proved to be too much for Danny.

In the Co-Featured Event, Vernon Forrest battered Michele Piccirillo from the opening bell until the bout was stopped at 2:21 of the 11th round by referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. This was Vernon’s first successful WBC Super Welterweight Title defense.

Forrest was able to use his far superior hand speed and overall boxing skill to out class and dominate Piccirillo throughout the contest. Forrest’s jab and multi-punch combinations were too much for the Italian to handle.

During the sixth round, a solid hook followed by an overhand right stunned Piccirillo. Not long after that, another chopping overhand right to Piccirillo’s head sent him down to the canvas for the first time during the bout. The extremely tough veteran was up and ready to continue by the eight count and went on to survive the round.

The battering continued during the 7th & 8th rounds and as the ninth round began, it seemed to me that Michele Piccirillo was still woozy, as a crushing overhand right sent Piccirillo down again. The tough Italian was allowed to continue and a few seconds later, found himself surviving the round. He went back to his corner with a bad cut over his left eye.

The tenth picked up where the 9th left off…Forrest throwing a beating on Piccirillo.
As the round went on, it became very clear that there really was no way for the game Michele Piccirillo to win this fight and after another crushing overhand right sent Piccirillo down for the third time during the fight, referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. justifiably stopped the fight officially at 2:21 of the 11th round.

As it turned out, Piccirillo would have not be able to continue anyway because as he went down from Forrest’s punch, he injured his ankle to the point where he was not able to stand. Vernon Forrest improves to 40-2-1 NC (29 KOs), while Piccirillo drops to 48-4-1 NC (29 KOs).

Forrest looked very good. His punches were crisp and were accurate. Another notable positive for Vernon was his defensive skills. He was avoiding most of Piccirillo’s punches throughout the contest. All in all, a very good performance by Vernon Forrest.

In what I personally thought was the best fight of the night, Nonito Donaire proved he certainly is NOT a one-punch wonder, making his first defense of his IBF Flyweight Title a successful one by stopping the very tough Luis Maldonado in the 8th round of their scheduled twelve round Championship bout.

Donaire used his hand speed and powerful right to punish Maldonado for most of the fight. With his face bleeding from the first round on, Maldonado could do very little to stop the very talented Donaire. In the seventh round a devastating uppercut followed by a left hook sent Luis down. He was up at the ten-second mark and survived the round.

When the eighth round began, Donaire came out determined to end this fight. After a constant barrage of punches, the bout was stopped officially at 1:16 of the round, giving Donaire the TKO victory.

Nonito Donaire improves to 19-1 (12 KOs) and has proved he is deserving of the IBF World Title Belt. There will be plenty of opportunities for him in the near future in the very hot Flyweight Division.

The always-tough Mexican, Luis Maldonado, who was ranked #4 by the IBF coming into the fight, drops to 37-2-1 (28 KOs). Suffering only his second defeat out of forty pro fights, it is almost certain Luis Maldonado will be back again soon.

2007 continues to be a great year for boxing and this three Championship fight card brought to us by Gary Shaw Productions, FoxWoods and ShowTime, only adds to this year’s obvious Pro Boxing resurgence.


For full discussions on these fights and all the other top pro boxing news, don’t miss this week’s “Talkin Boxing With Billy C” radio program. Tune into on Wednesdays from 6-8pm EST to listen live, or go to for all information on downloading the podcast of the show as well as ALL previous shows and a listing of all syndicated radio stations where you can hear the “Talkin Boxing With Billy C” radio show.

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Article posted on 02.12.2007

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