I had the opportunity to talk to former IBO light heavyweight champ, Antonio Tarver to get his insight on the top fights in the sport. In part two of my interview with Antonio, he speaks about the upcoming match between Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov, as well as the mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Tarver gives his prediction for the fight and also talks about the potential for controversy in the fight. Lastly, Antonio Tarver gives an update into his son’s development as a boxer. Here is what Antonio Tarver had to say.
Robert Brown: I’d like to talk to you about a fight that’s just been announced, a fight between Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov. What are your thoughts on this fight?
Antonio Tarver: That’s gonna be definitely a war between two proven veterans. Both of these guys bring a big punch and both seem to have granite chins, I can’t wait to see that fight. That’s gonna be explosive, very explosive and definitely a fight of the year candidate.
Robert Brown: Who will you be tipping in that fight?
Antonio Tarver: Matthysse, when you look at quality of opposition, I think Matthysse has the advantage there. Provodnikov, other than the loss that he had against Chris Algieri, I don’t know. If Provodnikov doesn’t win this fight, you have to really question was he all hype? He’s had some good wins but he needs to cash in on this Matthysse fight to put himself and keep himself in the tops echelon of his division.
I think both of these fighters are at what you would call a crossroads fight, needing an impressive win to keep themselves amongst the very best in their division. They’re gonna fight their ass off and I’m sure that fight is gonna live up to the billing.
Robert Brown: I want to talk to you about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. With there being so much money involved, is it possible that if the fight’s close, we may get a controversial decision just so there’s a rematch?
Antonio Tarver: I can’t really speculate, I can’t say that. I would hope not. You never want controversy in boxing and I think this fight is so important and the world watching, I don’t think it leaves room for error with everybody watching.
I think this fight is gonna be judged fairly, I’m not even gonna set my mind up to think otherwise and I think they’ll do a pool and have the very best judges there, even referees. I think it will be two warriors going at it and there will be no fouls in this fight. They’re gonna fight and they’re gonna lay their skill and talent on the line. With the world watching, I think they’re gonna give everybody what they want to see, the very best.
Robert Brown: Who are you tipping to win the fight?
Antonio Tarver: Listen man, I’m not gonna sit here and say this is not a dangerous fight for Floyd Mayweather — everybody knows this is a dangerous fight for Floyd, everyone knows that, especially Floyd Mayweather. He’s gonna have to go to the drawing board and come in at the best condition and I’m sure he’s gonna do that as he always has and I can’t go against perfect, the man has been perfect throughout his career.
We’ve seen Pacquiao knocked out, but at the same time, he possesses the type of style and from a southpaw stance, we cannot lose sight of that. Pacquiao is a tremendous southpaw, something that Floyd Mayweather hasn’t seen a whole lot of, and Pacquiao is moving at light speed.
I don’t think Pacquiao can match Floyd’s speed but I think he’s fast enough. I couldn’t match Roy Jones’ speed but I was fast enough to offset his speed. That being said, I think Pacquiao is gonna have some moments and you know he has a very powerful punch. I think Floyd wins a decision but if this fight doesn’t go the distance, you have to lean toward Pacquiao landing that shot within the distance.
There you have it, and that’s just being honest about how I know and see these fighters’ potential and their ability. Floyd can outbox anybody but he’s gonna have to stay away from Pacquiao’s power, that’s just point blank period.
Robert Brown: I’d like to ask you about your son, how’s coming along?
Antonio Tarver: It’s like this, he feels like he has it, he feels like he’s ready at this stage of his career. He’s shown a lot of progression but at the same time, we’ve had our moments in the gym where I felt like he wasn’t focused or he wasn’t paying attention or he wasn’t listening to instructions. Things get heated some times and we have a lot of testosterone in the building, so it’s like that.
I’m gonna get my respect, he’s gonna have to respect me because I didn’t ask him to box and I’m gonna be a man too and until he can whoop me, then I’m gonna have the final say so. Until he can whoop pops, I’m gonna have the final say so. I just want him to understand that this shit ain’t easy and nothing’s gonna come to him, nobodies gonna give him anything.
He has to understand that and once he gets that in his head and stops feeling as if he’s accomplished something because he has my name, then we can get past that. We’re good, this is just a learning experience for him and he’s getting it on the job. He had no amateur experience, so with that being said, he’s good.