Tarver Calls Out Dawson After Both Win
TAMPA, Fla. (April 13, 2008) – Photo by Tom Casino / Showtime - Antonio Tarver registered a unanimous 12-round decision over defending champion Clinton Woods to capture the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight crown and World Boxing Council (WBC) 175-pound kingpin Chad Dawson remained undefeated with a thrilling, hard-fought 12-round decision over hard-luck Glen Johnson Saturday on SHOWTIME.
Article posted on 13.04.2008
The world championship doubleheader, billed as “TNT: Title Night in Tampa,” took place at the St. Pete Times Forum and was promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and AT Entertainment in association with Fight Academy. A crowd-pleasing event aired on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast)..
Tampa’s Tarver (27-4, 19 KOs), a former undisputed light heavy champion and reigning International Boxing Organization (IBO) titleholder, mostly dominated en route to winning by the scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112. There were no knockdowns.
“It’s all about the belts; I’m looking for all the belt-holders,’’ Tarver said. “He was a tough, gritty fighter but I came into this in great shape. I took some and got some (punches) but the best man won tonight. I’m not surprised by anything that went on in there.
“A lot of credit for my performance goes to my trainer, Jimmy Williams, who never let me give up or get down on myself. Jimmy is one of the all-time great teachers and absolutely definitely should be in the Hall of Fame.’’
Tarver, who called out Dawson at the post-fight press conference – Shaw said a unification world title fight could take place in the fall -- wasn’t impressed with Dawson’s performance in the telecast’s opening bout.
“Chad Dawson would be easy pickings now,’’ Tarver said. “He’s not the fighter now that he was before his fight. He’s a wounded duck.
“Dawson took a lot of hard hits against Johnson, but there is a difference between getting hit by Glen Johnson and getting hit by me.’’
Woods (41-4-1, 24 KOs), of Sheffield, England, could not find his range or rhythm for much of the 36 minutes.
“I fought the best light heavyweight in the world tonight,’’ said Woods, who was making the fifth defense of the crown he won in March 2005. “I don’t know if it is my time to retire or not.’’
Dawson (26-0, 17 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., wanted a tough test and he got it.
“Johnson is a warrior and we trained for that,’’ Dawson said after winning the fight of the night by the scores of 116-112 on all the scorecards. “We worked on stepping around and boxing him in training and we did that, too.
“I executed my game plan and landed more punches. Glen is a great fighter. He caught me with some good shots but I did my job and took them.’’
There were no knockdowns in a non-stop slugfest with constant two-way action, but both boxers were rocked on several occasions.
Johnson (47-12-2, 37 KOs), of Miami, by way of Jamaica, owns wins over Tarver, Woods and Roy Jones Jr., but almost is as well known for coming up on the wrong end of close, unpopular decisions.
Such was the case again Saturday.
“The decision was total bull,’’ Johnson said. “Dawson is a good, young fighter with a great future, but I really worked hard for this fight and definitely feel I won it.
‘I can’t afford to keep losing these kinds of fights at this stage of my career. I wish I knew why these kinds of bad decision keep going against me.
“This loss hurts me more than any other in my career. I would love a rematch.’’
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein called the action from ringside with Karyn Bryant serving as special correspondent. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was David Dinkins Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING fight card will re-air as follows:
Monday, April 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME
Tuesday, April 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME TOO
Wednesday, April 16, 10 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME
For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, photo galleries and complete telecast information, please visit http://www.SHO.com/Sports.
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