Tarver & Dawson Need To Fight Now!

By Francis Walker
Updated: June 14, 2007

Antonio Tarver

Antonio Tarver

NEW YORK — On the same evening that Miguel Cotto defeated Zab Judah in what could have been 2007’s “Fight of the Year” at Madison Square Garden , light heavyweights Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson showcased their skills approximately 117 miles away at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

During a nationally-televised Showtime Championship Boxing doubleheader, Tarver (25-4, 18 KOs) won a 12-round majority decision against a game Elvir Muriqi (34-4, 21 KOs ) in the main event.

Dawson (24-0, 16 KOs), despite having been the hometown favorite from nearby New Haven, stopped Jesus Ruiz (19-5, 17 KOs ). It was Dawson’s first defense of the WBC 175-pound title he won from Tomasz Adamek in February.

“I took a year off,” said Tarver, fighting for the first time since losing a 12-round unanimous decision against Bernard Hopkins in June of 2006. “I felt great. I had a good time in there. I was rusty, but he was never in the fight. I took my time and I dominated.”

The judges at ringside scored the bout 116-112, 115-113 for Tarver, and 114-114 even. It was a very good win in an exciting fight. Tarver headlined the event since he was the bigger name, clearly outclassed Muriqi. Tarver was the quicker, faster, and harder puncher and simply outworked a tough opponent with consistency.

Tarver, 38, Tampa , FL , who has two victories against Roy Jones, Jr., including a spectacular second round KO in April 2004, and a win against Glen Johnson, believes that he is the best light heavyweight in the world.

Dawson, a legitimate world titlist, believes that both Tarver and Hopkins are ducking him.

“Hopkins and Tarver say they’re the best. They don’t want to step up and fight young guys like myself,” Dawson once said. “Hopkins and Tarver are ducking me.”

Dawson knocked out Ruiz in the sixth round of a very fine performance that should garner increasing interest in a match with Tarver. Dawson dominated the fight with his right jabs and solid left hand. The fight ended at the two-minute mark after Dawson buried Ruiz with an accumulation of punches.

“I knew he wasn’t going to get by my jab,” Dawson said afterwards. “It’s too fast.” Dawson added: “My left hand went numb,” the southpaw continued. “My glove was laced up too tight, so I had to hold back with it. But everything works off the jab anyway.”

Tarver vs. Dawson would be a match-up between two tall southpaws with solid boxing ability. Although Dawson, at 24 is younger than the 38 year-old from Tampa, Tarver has a distinct advantage in experience, quality of opposition, and appears to be the more polished fighter.

Dawson claims to be the best light heavyweight in the world and willing to fight the best. Tarver needs to prove that he’s still one of the very best in world and needs to do something to significant following his one-sided loss to Hopkins .

Tarver and Dawson need each other and a fight between two fine boxers and fine personalities should happen now.