Jim Gray Interview with Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson
Gray: Antonio you have said that Chad is the future and you’re the now. What gives you the indication that he’s not the ‘now’ and the future as well?
Tarver: Well, I feel like I’m at the top of my game. I just took the IBF title from Clinton Woods. I’m here. I’m the unified champion, four-time light heavyweight champion, twice undisputed. I’ve done it all. I’ve beaten everybody so why wouldn’t I feel like I’m the now and he can be the future?
Gray: Chad do you feel Antonio is way past his prime?
Chad Dawson: Yes, definitely past his prime. Look at his last three performances. They speak for themselves. Just look at Clinton Woods. He can’t even beat a ‘paycheck.’ Clinton Woods didn’t put up a fight…. He came to collect a paycheck.
Gray: By that same token, you didn’t have your best night against Glen Johnson and Antonio didn’t have a problem.
Dawson: Like I said, Glen Johnson came to fight, Chad Dawson came to fight. We had a hell of a fight. I’m here, I’m the future and I’m the now. On October 11, I will prove that point to the whole world.
Gray: How do you think you’ll be able to do that?
Dawson: I am in tremendous shape like I always am. I come into every fight in tremendous shape. There’s nothing that Antonio Tarver does that can throw me off my game plan. He’s slow, he’s old. Come on, look at my last three performances and look at his and tell me who the better fighter is.
Gray: Antonio you’re response to what you’re hearing here from Chad Dawson?
Tarver: I’m listening to a guy that is very naïve, a guy that is very young, obviously, mentally and he’s sadly mistaking. (Many) have come and tried to conquer and have tried to take me out. It has never been done before and it won’t get done on Oct. 11. All this guy is hoping for is that I show up less then prepared. They are looking to roll the dice and get lucky. That’s it, bottom line. But I’m here to tell you, I’m here to put the world on notice that it won’t happen. I’ll have my best performance against Chad Dawson. He’s right about the prediction. It won’t go the distance.
Gray: Antonio, he raises an interesting point. You haven’t looked your best in your last three fights. It looks like there has been a struggle and it looks like age now has affected you. What have you done in the interceding time to change that trend?
Tarver: Do me a favor. Put the camera up close. This is a fighter that has been in this sport for 20 years. Now do the same with Chad Dawson. He’s ten years my youth. The bottom line is I got the secret to the success. I’ve been here. I’m not going anywhere. You will see a display of the sweet science when I technically annihilate Chad Dawson on the 11th.
Gray: Chad, a lot of people say possibly you don’t have the chin and you’ve addressed that in the past. What about your chin and what about taking the big punch from him?
Dawson: I’ve never been knocked out. That’s what I have to say to that. I’ve been down but never been knocked out.
Gray: Do you respect not only what he’s (Tarver) done in the past but where he is now as a fighter?
Dawson: I respect what he’s done in the past but where he is right now as a fighter, you can’t compare that to me. I’m young, I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m in the best shape of my life. Every fight I come in on weight. I never have trouble making weight. Never. I mean that’s a true champion right there. I never have to struggle to make weight because I come in to camp on weight, every camp.
Gray: Why do you feel you’re an underdog and there’s this lack of respect, Antonio?
Tarver: They just don’t understand my game. All I do is win and all I do is be successful but they can’t understand my game. I was underestimated coming out of the Olympics. They never thought I would reach this plateau. As long as we have critics it gives me something to shoot for.
Gray: Chad, when you hear all this, what is your reaction?
Dawson: I believe in my abilities and he believes in his abilities. But, like he said, October 11, somebody is going home with hell, and it’s not going to be me.