Antonio Tarver claims Joe Calzaghe backed out of agreed super-fight

American boxing legend Antonio Tarver has claimed Joe Calzaghe backed out of an agreed bout and opted to fight Roy Jones Jr. for his final bout.

Back in 2008, Calzaghe finally made the long-awaited move across the Atlantic after amassing a 44-0 career campaigning exclusively in Europe.

According to Tarver, Calzaghe was due to fight Bernard Hopkins the week before he battled the Welshman’s British compatriot Clinton Woods. The pair were then expected to meet if both won.

Tarver defeated Woods via a wide and unanimous points tally. Calzaghe, on the other hand, took a close split win against Hopkins.

But before negotiations could be completed, Calzaghe veered off in the direction of Roy Jones Jr. whom the ‘Italian Dragon’ beat to secure his legacy.

Left out of the loop, Tarver then faced Chad Dawson and lost his two world light-heavyweight belts.

Calzaghe had wanted to face Hopkins or Jones for a bonafide crown in order to leave the sport as a two-weight world champion, although it was Tarver who was the biggest name holding the gold.

Unfortunately for the ‘Magic Man’, Jones got the nod on his reputation as Tarver once again missed out on a huge encounter.

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Recalling the Woods fight on the twelfth anniversary. A fight which should have been the warm-up for Calzaghe vs Tarver, the 51-year-old said: “Tarver vs Woods – April 12, 2008 Tampa, FL.
The build-up was crazy. I flew to England with the late great Jimmy Williams and they thought I was just selling the fight!

“After I dismantled Woods, his countryman Joe Calzaghe was supposed to be next. Let’s just say he decided to take the road with less resistance!

“I was the risk the greats were afraid to take,” he added.


After winning world titles at 175 and 200 pounds, Tarver had massive ambitions of moving up to heavyweight to challenge a champion.

It never happened for him. Tarver since calls it ‘The Greatest Story Never Told’. Searching for a chance in the top division, Tarver spoke to WBN back in 2016.

On his ambitions to compete with the top heavies, Tarver exclusively told World Boxing News: “I’m ready to fight. I’ve challenged some top fighters out there, even champions, and as always all I hear are crickets.

“I guess they’re waiting on Father Time to come knocking on my door. But I’m gonna stay true to the game.

“They running out of names unless they plan on continuing to recycle all these safe opponents. I can be ready as soon as we get an official date and the right opponent.

!As you know, I don’t have much time so I don’t need a tune-up. I don’t need to prove anything. If I couldn’t fight they wouldn’t be ducking.”

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay