Heavyweight contender Antonio Tarver should be mapping out his plan for a future shot at the top division title since his impressive knockout win over Johnathon Banks – but instead is in the dark about his next career move.
Tarver, who defeated pound for pound king Roy Jones Jr almost exactly 11 years ago, is undefeated since 2009 and has shown there is plenty more in the tank at 46 years of age. By his own admission to WBN, Tarver believes he has no prospects of ever fulfilling his dream of being crowned the world heavyweight champion.
The ‘Magic Man’ has consistently lobbied for a chance at Wladimir Klitschko in the past and backed it up by having his hand raised in the ring before calling out the Ukrainian. The talented veteran still finds himself up against roadblocks in his bid to share a ring with anyone holding a belt at 200 pounds plus, with seemingly no way of Tarver getting through anytime soon.
“After my last performance, which was a seventh round KO of Jonathan Banks, it appears I’ve been shelved by the big names again,” Tarver exclusively explained to World Boxing News on Tuesday.
“I can’t tell you how hard I’ve been training and working, but I’m being shown that there’s really no interest of me challenging and or winning the heavyweight championship. Even after all the work, the time, blood, sweat and tears, I’m being shown that I still need a breakthrough in the boxing business – even at this point in my career.
“What I’m missing is a promoter who believes in me enough in me to put me in a position to succeed. I know how to win and I’m doing my part, but I get the feeling ‘they’ just want me to go away. ‘They’ are not willing to let me go out on my own accord or let the game retire me, which in turn gives me the opportunity to prove that once again they had it ‘wrong’ about me.
“The irony of it all is that ‘they’ keep telling me who I can’t beat and who I have no chance against, but ‘they’ won’t put them in the ring with me. Really, they destroy you out of the ring when they can’t beat you in it!”
Despite winning a total of ten world titles in his career and without a loss in six years, Tarver finds himself ranked with only one of the five major boxing organisations – the WBA. That victory over Banks, who was number one contender with the WBC just a few years ago, seems to have gone largely un-noticed as Tarver waits patiently for his chance to finally land the opportunity to allow fiction to imitate reality.
Playing Mason Dixon in the 2006 ‘Rocky Balboa’ movie saw Tarver portray the undisputed heavyweight champion to decent reviews, although the American’s career has now sadly delved more into the lead character role of perennial underdog forced to sit back and wait for his big chance to shine.
With a bigger than life persona, on top of being an on-air TV personality, Tarver’s story should be up there with the biggest in boxing and really have promoter’s queueing around the block for the option of taking a former undisputed 175lb champion to the heavyweight title.
Tarver remains optimistic that his chance will come before he finally hangs up his gloves for good and won’t be giving up on his attempts to break down the door just yet.
“I’d like to thank all my fans for their continued support. Keep me in your prayers as this is going to be a lot harder than I thought, but not impossible.
“I’d also like to thank Al Haymon and I promise my fans one more ‘Magical’ night in boxing,” he added.
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