Tarver: Haye fight will captivate the public, prove I’m Klitschko-worthy
Two-weight world champion Antonio Tarver has thrown his hat into the ring to be David Haye’s comeback opponent when the Briton returns to the ring after a serious injury later in the year.
Tarver, 45, is currently on the lookout for a high-profile heavyweight bout as he bids for a career-defining clash with Wladimir Klitschko, and sees Haye as the perfect foe to prove his world title fight credentials.
“Fighting David Haye is a dream fight for me,” Tarver exclusively told World Boxing News.
“When I look back on my career I’ve never gotten the fights I wanted that could’ve shaped my place in boxing history.
“I missed out on Joe Calzaghe and the rematch with Bernard Hopkins, but I know a fight with Haye is a fight for the fans and it’s a fight that makes sense right now.”
The American returned from a spell on the sidelines to stop Mike Sheppard in November and hasn’t lost since suffering a double defeat to Chad Dawson in 2009 just prior to leaving the 175lb division behind.
An IBO title at cruiserweight followed, before Tarver decided on a run at the top division, but the ‘Magic Man’ been hampered in his quest to secure top-level opposition since deciding to head up and seek the sport’s biggest prize.
“For some reason I get a backlash for wanting to fight the best,” he explained.
“I’ve travelled abroad and been very successful, so to fight Haye in the UK is not a problem for me. Tarver versus Haye is a fight with so many dynamics and I know it will captivate the boxing public.
“If I can’t beat Haye, then I don’t deserve to fight Klitschko and if Haye can’t beat me, then he don’t deserve a rematch with him.”
Haye, 33, is world-renowned for his massive hooks that have laid out plenty of opponents in the past, although career-threatening shoulder surgery has now put question marks on whether the ex-WBA title holder can fully regain his functioning to land those trademark hayemakers.
Veteran Tarver wasn’t too worried about facing up to Haye’s deadly shots in the ring though – as he jokingly quipped that all the Londoner’s leverage came from an entirely different place.
“If he beats me then I will retire, but I believe his power is in his hair so I want to scalp him and take it. I’ll shave his head like mine and his power will be gone. I’m convinced of that,” said Tarver.
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