Boxing


Antonio Tarver-Nagy Aguilera Media Conference Call Highlights

Former undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio Tarver and heavyweight Nagy Aguilera participated in a national media conference call to discuss their upcoming heavyweight bout on Friday, Oct. 15, at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., on ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIMEģ (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). Tarver, a former undisputed light heavyweight champion and the first man to knock out future Hall of Famer Roy Jones, Jr., will be fighting for the first time as a heavyweight after a hugely successful campaign at 175 pounds. Tarver, of Tampa, Fla., took more than a year off from fighting after his last bout in 2009 and has been serving as an expert commentator for SHOWTIME..

Aguilera, of Newburgh, N.Y. by way of Dominican Republic, boasts an impressive opponent list throughout his three years as a professional. The 24-year-old holds a career-best first round knockout over former WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in 2009 and has fought against other veteran heavyweights like Samuel Peter and Maurice Harris.

Highlights of what they said Tuesday:

Opening Comments

Aguilera: ďThis is a very big opportunity for me with Antonio moving up to heavyweight. Iím just very excited about this fight. Iím younger and quicker. I know he has the experience and he is a world champion but Iím younger and Iím hungrier. My job is not to retire guys, but just beat them.Ē

Nagy Aguilera Questions & Answers

Do you expect to knock Tarver out?

Aguilera: ďMy expectation is to win by a unanimous decision. Thatís what I always train for. But I have good power in both hands so if the knockout comes early or later, it doesnít matter. It will come. Itís possible the win will come by knockout.Ē

How do you think you will utilize your size advantage in this fight?

Aguilera: ďI have to use it to my advantage because he has the experience. I have to attack him and be first always and try and win the round.Ē

What have you learned from some of your bigger fights?

Aguilera: ďIíve learned a lot. Itís a lesson for me because Iím a young guy. Iím 24 now, and when I fought Oleg (Maskaev) I was 23. I learned a lot because in boxing you have to do everything right. You have to train, you have to eat right. Sometimes Iím kind of lazy and I do what I want to do. But for this fight my trainer is pushing me and I want to be 100 percent ready.

ďI expect (Tarver) to come forward. If the fight is different I just have to make an adjustment and just fight how the fight is going to be.

ďIíve been sparring with lefties and itís going very well. Everything we are practicing is coming out really well.Ē

How is important are the first two rounds?

Aguilera: ďThe first two rounds are where heís going to prove what he has to prove. After the fight gets going weíll see what happens.

ďThis is a big opportunity for me. Iím excited and happy to be fighting him.

ďYou can never underestimate your opponent. Heís got the experience. Heís the older guy and he knows what heís doing. I donít take anything away from him.Ē

What advice do you give him moving up to heavyweight?

Aguilera: ďWell, be prepared for a lot of power. Itís not the same as in light heavyweight.

ďEveryday I wake up with the dream to knock out Antonio Tarver. Heís a very good fighter and that would be the best thing in my whole career. Iím confident and Iím ready and I hope he is too.Ē

Antonio Tarver Questions & Answers

Why the heavyweight division and why now?

Tarver: ďI just think that everything happens in time. I just feel like I have so much to offer to the game of boxing and, in hindsight, I may have taken this jump a little earlier. But my time is now. I look at the heavyweight division and there really isnít a recognizable American that we can truly look at and say, ĎThatís our guy.í The Europeans have taken over the divisions since Lennox Lewis. Heís European but at least he had a face that we could recognize and say, ĎThatís the heavyweight champion of the world.í I just think itís a major, monumental challenge for me. Thatís what Iíve always gotten up for, those major challenges. This is just another goal Iíve set for myself.

ďI think that God has preserved me for a great, great purpose. And when I look at the things that Iím still able to do in the ring at 41 years old, it has to be a miracle. On Oct. 15 weíre going to see that Iím far from done. Iím far from shot and that age is nothing but a number. You canít handicap a fight because of a guyís age because that heart is inside of that guy. And thatís what itís all about. Iíve been to the mountaintop but whoís to say I canít get there again and climb all the way to the top of the heavyweight mountain. This is big and this is what I get up for. These next two years will be a crowning moment in my career; to show the people that I can reinvent myself once again and be heavyweight champion once again.Ē

Why not move up to cruiserweight?

Tarver: ďI wanted one fight at cruiserweight. Everyone knows it was Danny Green. But that guy has a yellow streak down his back. Heís a farce and heís living off a victory over Roy Jones Jr. You can see in his last two fights he wanted nothing to do with anyone with a remote pulse or any type of life in him. So heís continued to fight corpses so I just let him do what he does. I just want him to recant the statement that I ducked him at any point or any time in his career. Iíve never ducked anyone who it didnít make sense to fight at that time. He was begging me to fight but it just didnít make sense and I had bigger fish to fry. When the time was right he did everything in his power to avoid me and show the world that he wanted nothing to do with me. I wanted to go down to Australia, beat his butt, come back with the cruiserweight world title and then move on to heavyweight, but I didnít get that chance. Why take the step up to cruiserweight when I can fight the big boys right now? I walk around at 225. Iíve always been a big light heavyweight and people donít understand what itís been like to have to make weight and be in shape at light heavyweight.

ďIím here to prove on Oct. 15 that the fire never left. Iím still the same fighter, a better fighter today than I ever was. I feel good because I donít have the stress of losing 30 pounds on me. I donít have to worry about that now. Iím eating good. Iím taking my supplements. Iím drinking a lot of water. Thereís fluid in my muscles and on my brain. Iím healthy right now. I was afraid to put the muscle on because the muscle would weigh more and I wouldnít be able to make the weight. I wasnít able to do everything I had to do because I would outgrow the light heavyweight division.Ē

What about your opponent?

Tarver: ďNagy Aguilera is a young and talented fighter who has beaten world champions but when you look at my experience, Iím sure heís never faced a fighter with my experience, with my talent, with my skill level and with my ability. And I donít think the Klitschkos have. Boxing IQ and sense and just knowing what I have to do, how to avoid punches and counter-punches - thatís what I bring to the table. And if I can put a dent in these big boys Iím telling you, youíre talking to the next heavyweight champion.

ďMy punching power is going to be deceptive because theyíre not going to expect it. Itís going to be the punch they donít see with speed thatís going to get them out of there. I can crack, man. Anyone who has ever taken one of my punches knows that I can hit it and itís natural power. Itíll be surprising to them and deceptive power.Ē

Do you think people are excited about your move to heavyweight?

Tarver: ďWell, they either think Iím crazy or they think Iím brilliant. Theyíre excited because thereís not a marquee name that is carrying the torch for the Americans. Thereís not a real threat. I just need about two or three fights to show Iím a real threat. You just look at the name - if itís Tarver-Klitschko or Tarver-Haye, thatís a big name, thatís big business. Thatís what we want to bring to the boxing game before I retire. Thatís big business and itís what people want to see. They want to see me get knocked out for destroying a fighter in Roy Jones Jr. There are a lot of fans out there still bitter about that, because Roy Jones was so beloved by so many. They just never saw it coming and his career has never been the same since. There are a lot of people that want to see me get knocked out. So theyíre going to be tuning in to see that. To see me get outclassed or beaten to a pulp; theyíve never seen that. And at heavyweight thereís a chance I can get clipped and they can finally laugh at me for doing in a fighter like Roy Jones. People either love you or they hate you but they still want to watch you. Thatís why itís so exciting, because there are so many unknowns. Can I do it? Howís it going to go down? And who will I be fighting?

ďNo one can fault me for dreaming big. You know, Iíve always dreamed big and Iím going to continue to dream big because whatís the use in living if you canít live with a purpose. And right now my purpose is to become heavyweight champion of the world.Ē

Has not having to lose weight affected your conditioning at all?

Tarver: ďIím not having a problem keeping the weight on. Iím running for conditioning only. Iím running comfortably three miles a day. Iím not having to run, four, five miles. I mean, thatís so brutal on your body. Iím well rested. I feel real good. Iím eating baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. Iím having bread. Real good complex carbs. Iím on my supplements, Iíve got my protein working and Iím rested. Thatís the key. Iím not killing myself. I can fight harder and I can fight longer. I breezed through eight rounds today. Iím drinking as much water as I possibly can; not worried about putting on a couple extra pounds. And Iím flushing it. Thatís what youíre going to see on Oct. 15. Iím not killing myself to lose those 30 pounds.

ďIím not a plodding heavyweight. Iím a dazzling heavyweight. Iíve got moves, speed and quickness. These big guys think they can just come in here and whop me down, they got another thing coming. Theyíre going to have to find me first. Iím going to be all over them. From every side, every angle. In and out; from the left side and the right. Iím unloading my bag of tricks. Iím 217 right now and Iíll probably come in at 217 and thatís beautiful. Iím not going to be a slow 230 pound fighter. Iím not going to do it. Weíre going to match hearts against hearts and will against will and when it comes to the skill they canít compete so thatís where weíre going to live. Thatís where the chips are going to fall. If they donít knock me out I donít see them winning.Ē

What makes you think you can beat the Klitschkos?

Tarver: ďI donít know. I just have it. I have something that I just canít describe. When I sit back and have goals for myself they come true. I donít know why, it just does. I was an amateur when I told guys I could beat Roy Jones. I donít know why, but I just knew it years before it happened. I prophesied it. I just had this vision. I see myself knocking out one of these giants. Now I just have to have the world see it. Thatís my dream and thatís my goal and Iím sticking to it until someone beats me.Ē

What will it be like to be fighting on SHOWTIME, the same network you work for?

Tarver: ďThatís going to be crazy, man. Itís going to give them the opportunity to see me work. Iím sure Steve (Farhood) has seen a lot of my fights but to be so close now and being a colleague of theirs, thatís going to be unique. Iím looking forward now to the fighter meetings more than anything, with the producers Richard (Gaughan) and Gordon (Hall). I donít really know how thatís going to work (laughing). But I think theyíll be real with me. They wonít pull any punches. There are some questions that they have to ask and I have to answer them. When itís all said and done it will be business as usual. Weíre going to take care of business as usual. Iím just glad that ShoBox still believes in Magic and that theyíre bringing this fight live to the people on SHOWITME. And if you donít have SHOWTIME run out and get it because itís the only way youíre going to see it unless youíre in Miami, Oklahoma, at the Buffalo Run Casino.Ē

Article posted on 06.10.2010



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