Media Interview w/ Tarver & Woods
CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES
ANTONIO TARVER AND CLINTON WOODS,
CHAD DAWSON, GLEN JOHNSON AND PROMOTER GARY SHAW
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2008
Former undisputed light heavyweight kingpin and current IBO champion Antonio Tarver will face IBF champion Clinton Woods and WBC 175-pound titleholder Chad Dawson will defend against former world champion Glen Johnson Saturday, April 12, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (live at 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
Tickets are on sale at the McDonald’s Box Office at the St Pete Times Forum and all Ticketmaster outlets. Charge by phone at 813-287-8844 or 727-898-2100 or log onto ticketmaster.com. Tickets are priced at $27.75, $52.75, $102.75, $202.75, $302.75. Limited ringside seats are available at $602.75. Limited VIP Packages are available at $1002.75. Prices do not include service charges. For dinner reservations, the night of the event, call 813-301-6926 or log on to ticketmaster.com. Parking passes are available at ticketmaster.com.
The doubleheader, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and AT Entertainment in association with Fight Academy, will emanate from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
SHAW: Thank you everybody for being on the call. I want to give a special thank you to Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson and Henry Foster, who is on with Glen. On behalf of everyone that’s on the call, I want to thank everyone for the interest in this fight.
To me, we’re putting on a great doubleheader with two world championship fights. I believe we have the four best light heavyweights in the world. A lot of fighters claim to be the best or magazines rate them as the light heavyweight world champion, then, then they need to fight at light heavyweight, and not all these catch weights.
These two fighters are stepping up. Chad Dawson is young. He is the future of the division. Everybody knows about Glen Johnson. Glen’s been in with Tarver, he’s been in with Clinton Woods. He’s been in with the best. This is Chad’s first major test since becoming light heavyweight champion of the world. He needs to get past Glen Johnson to get the recognition that he’s lacking. On the other hand, Glen knows what he has to do to get back in the picture. Chad is the stepping stone for him.
So that sets the pace for the fight. We’ll talk about Tarver and Clinton Woods on the second half of this call. I’m very proud to be associated with SHOWTIME, who are helping put together this tremendous doubleheader. This might be the single best doubleheader of the year. I’m really leaning towards getting a unified light heavyweight champion of the world.
So once again, I thank everybody very much. A special thank you goes out to SHOWTIME for stepping up and paying for what it took to put this fight on.
DAWSON: First of all, I want to thank Gary Shaw and SHOWTIME for having me on the card. It’s a big card and I’m definitely looking forward to be challenged. Everybody knows Glen Johnson is a tough fighter. But I’m here, and I’m going to be on my “A” game.
Training has been going great. I’ve been training for seven weeks, and I’ve been ready for the past two weeks. I’m definitely looking forward to taking on Glen Johnson in the fight.
JOHNSON: I’m going to take a time out to say thanks to everyone involved: SHOWTIME, Gary Shaw and Warrior Boxing. It’s a tremendous card. I’m definitely looking forward to April 12 and becoming the WBC light heavyweight champion. Chad is a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. But I have to worry about my future, so I’m bringing it all to the table.
QUESTION: Chad is there anyone style-wise that you can compare to Glen?
DAWSON: Not really. He is real aggressive, but it’s basically all about me being in tip‑top shape. I have the skill, I have the talent. I’m in shape, and I’ve got my “A” game. I’m not worried about anything. I just let my hands do the talking.
QUESTION: Chad, what do you think about the light heavyweight division?
DAWSON: I’m just fortunate enough to be a young guy in the Top 10 with these guys. Antonio Tarver has had a great career, Glen Johnson’s had a great career. Roy Jones Jr., has had a great career. I’m just honored to be mentioned among those names.
Come April 12, I’m going to show everybody I’m not just the future of the division, I am the division, and I am the best light heavyweight in the world.
QUESTION: Can you reflect on your career?
JOHNSON: That’s the way boxing is. For me it’s been a bit of struggle sometimes. I see other guys lose a fight and they come right back into a major fight.
For me, when there’s a loss, it takes me a year or so before I get another chance or another shot at it. It’s been an up‑and‑down road in that sense. But looking back on my whole career, I have my share of disappointments, but I’m pretty pleased. It really makes me who I am as a person and as a fighter.
I’m still blessed with the skills that I have. I’ve had a lot of challenges that I had to step up and overcome in the long run. I’ve had to rise above it all, because the plate wasn’t set for me. The table wasn’t set for me. I had to set my own table and make it what it is today.
QUESTION: What do you think your advantages are over Glen Johnson for this fight?
DAWSON: My advantages are I’m younger and faster. Everybody thinks Glen Johnson’s going to be stronger, but I don’t know about that. I am fully focused for this fight and I’m in the best shape of my career.
I’m looking forward to April 12. Glen Johnson is a tough opponent and I have respect for him. The last three or four years he has been very successful. I’m just looking forward to the challenge.
QUESTION: Glen, you very confident going in?
JOHNSON: I’m very confident. It’s going to be a tremendous fight. I believe Chad’s going to bring his best game, and I’m going to bring my best game. I honestly think this is going to be the best fight of the night. There’s no losing in this fight, and the fans are really going to enjoy their money’s worth.
QUESTION: Many fighters today are doing very well at a later age. What do you attribute this to?
JOHNSON: I can’t really speak for other fighters and athletes, because I don’t really know how they do it. But for me, it’s all about taking good care of myself. I don’t have any bad habits as far as drinking, smoking or anything like that.
I stay in shape, and I keep praying. I’m at the stage now in my career where I really feel like I’m on top of my game. It’s just a blessing.
QUESTION: What are you expecting tactically from Dawson?
JOHNSON: I really don’t have any tactics. I love to let it develop. I’m just going out there to see what I need to do to win.
QUESTION: Chad, what are you expecting to see from Johnson?
DAWSON: I definitely expect him to be aggressive like he’s been in previous fights. I’m going out there and executing. I’m pretty sure Glen Johnson’s going to bring his “A” game, so I’m going to be on my “A” game. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the fight of the night. It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a war.
QUESTION: Is there any particular weakness that you can see in him that you can exploit?
DAWSON: I don’t really see a weakness. But like I said, you have to be in great condition and great shape to win, and I’m in great condition and great shape. It’s been the most intense training and the best shape I’ve ever been in.
I’ve got a tough opponent in front of me, and I’ve got to be on my “A” game.
QUESTION: Who do you think is going to win between Tarver and Woods, and who you want to win?
JOHNSON: It doesn’t really matter to me who wins. I’ll give a small edge to Clinton Woods because it seems like he’s been doing better in his recent fights. In Tarver’s last couple of fights, I wasn’t impressed at all. So I would give Woods an edge, based on that. But Tarver is able to come out and fight, so we’ll see what happens on the 12th.
QUESTION: Chad, what your thoughts are on that fight as well?
DAWSON: I would go with Clinton Woods.
QUESTION: Can you elaborate on why?
DAWSON: In Tarver’s last two fights, he has shown nothing. He’s like a dead fighter to me. Clinton Woods is not going to back up and he’s not going to back down. Like I said, Tarver looks like a dead man to me.
QUESTION: Do you think you need to beat a guy like Johnson to get the respect you deserve?
DAWSON: It’s not about recognition. I definitely have to beat a guy like Glen Johnson to get the recognition. For three or four years, Glen has been very successful. A win over him would help me get recognized.
QUESTION: Gary, do you think Chad’s been recognized properly for what he’s accomplished?
SHAW: No, not at all. He’s a world champion, and there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason Glen Johnson is in this fight, because Glen Johnson is a true champion that’s willing to step up and fight one of the top guys, if not the top guy, in the world at 175 pounds.
That’s why Roy Jones is calling out other people. That’s why Hopkins is fighting 168 pounds or catch weight fights. For some reason, the press is enamored with those guys. They keep talking about Roy and Hopkins. You don’t hear Hopkins say, give me Glen Johnson, give me Chad Dawson, give me Clinton Woods. He’s not calling out any of those names.
So I think time will help Chad Dawson. I think this fight is a turning stone in Chad Dawson’s career, because if he can get by Glen Johnson, then, to me, he’s gotten by one of the best fighters in the world. His years of experience, his wins, and winning fighter of the year speaks volumes about who Glen Johnson is.
April 12 is his night to prove who Chad Dawson is.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Calzaghe-Hopkins?
JOHNSON: It’s a difficult fight. I really think Bernard is a defensive whiz, and Joey throws a lot of punches from every different angle. I think Joe might win the fight, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to land a lot of punches. He’ll probably just win off just the fact that he throws a lot of punches.
Bernard is very skillful defensively. He doesn’t have as much offense as he used to have in his prime, but he still has his defensive skills.
SHAW: I’d like to throw a shot at that question. I love Bernard Hopkins on a personal level. I think he’s great, and I’m a huge fan of Bernard’s. But in the fight game, I have all the respect in the world for Joe Calzaghe. I watched him at ringside destroy Jeff Lacey. Go through Miguel Kessler. I think in the underrated department, that Joe Calzaghe should be rated number one.
QUESTION: Glen, What makes Woods such a difficult opponent in your own eyes?
JOHNSON: Well, Woods is a very good fighter. But my opinion is simply based on what I’ve see in recent years between the two fighters.
When I fought Woods, I fought him in his hometown back in England. It’s a different setting. He was able to sit back and just try to rally at the end of the run to get the crowd involved. Now he’s going to have to deal with the crowd trying to support Antonio Tarver.
So you can’t sit back. You’ve got to go out and fight, and fight for 30 minutes. That’s what’s going to make the difference in the fight. If he can do that, I definitely think he’ll beat Tarver based on what I’ve seen the two men do recently.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what you think of your career and what you expect to come out of this fight?
JOHNSON: I expect to come out victorious, but this is a situation that is constantly thrown my way. It seems like I get my respect based on the person I’m fighting. Many based on them beating me and moving on. That’s how I get my opportunities.
This is just another one of those situations. I guess it’s the only way I’m going to get chances to fight and not be on at the major level. I’ll work on the challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.
QUESTION: I’m wondering, can you tell us about your training? How is it you’ve been able to maintain such a high level of quality in your fights?
JOHNSON: I just think that I’m blessed with good genes. I work hard and I’m determined. I’m trying to create situations for myself because I have three kids that I’ve got to support. You know, mama don’t play, so I’ve got to go make it.
QUESTION: Would you fight Antonio Tarver a third time?
JOHNSON: I definitely would like to fight Antonio Tarver again. I beat Clinton Woods. The way it is on paper, I think he deserves another fight because there’s a win on both sides and that’s deserving of another fight.
I definitely would like to fight Tarver again. No matter who wins or loses the fight I still want to fight both guys. There’s a win and loss with Tarver, and that’s deserving of another fight.
I’m not like the rest of the group of guys who grab a win and take off running. If you want to remain champion of your division, you want to leave no doubt in everyone’s mind. That’s what I’m about. I want leave no doubt in the fan’s mind or the media’s mind. I want to clean up in every sense of the word, cleaning up.
QUESTION: Gary, you’ve been putting together some exquisite cards as of late. Is this something we can expect from you in the next couple of years?
SHAW: Chad can answer that. When you sign and you fight for my company, then you agree to fight. We’re a fan‑friendly company. I love boxing. I want to see boxing here long after I’m gone. The only way boxing is going to continue is if the great fights happen constantly.
There is this crazy thing in boxing that came about that after a fighter wins a real fight, he’s supposed take one or two easy fights. I don’t get it, because the only person that gets robbed is the fan. It’s not even good for the fighter.
History shows that many fighters lose on the easy fights, look terrible or devalue themselves.
I have all respect to the Glen Johnson’s of the world that have stepped up and fought the best fights, and to Chad Dawson who will fight everybody. Chad has yet to tell me don’t make a fight. That’s why the great fights are happening.
Thank God this year you’ve seen some real good fights, not only from my company, but from De la Hoya and Arum. I give credit to those guys that put on great fights, because it’s only going to help the fighter.
Everybody’s afraid of MMA. They’re afraid of MMA because a loss in MMA is not detrimental to the fighter’s career. They come back and fight and the fans love it.
So thank you for your question. I appreciate the compliment. It’s really about my fighters who step up and fight the great fights.
QUESTION: Do you have any plans on coming back to Sacramento.
SHAW: Sure. As a promoter, wherever we can do a gate and people will come, watch and cheer for our fighters, that’s where we’ll go.
QUESTION: Chad, is this going to be as much of a mental fight as a physical fight?
DAWSON: It’s going to be a physical fight and a mental fight. Glen Johnson is a tough guy. He’s aggressive, and that is the physical part. In the later rounds I plan on making it a mental fight. Once I get past the aggressive part, the mental part will come into play.
QUESTION: Glen, if you take away your age, where do you see yourself in terms of your career.
JOHNSON: I have a game plan: To go out and unify the division. I want to leave no doubt, and that’s my peace of mind.
At my age, it is what it is. I have never felt any better. I feel great. I believe that I have what it takes to get it done.
SHAW: Glen Johnson doesn’t have the age problem. His manager has the age problem, believe me.
DAWSON: I’d like to thank SHOWTIME, Gary Shaw and Glen Johnson for taking this fight. I’m just looking forward to a great night on April 12th. It is going to be a fan‑pleasing fight.
Glen Johnson is a tough opponent. I have nothing but respect for Glen. I’m looking for a tough fight. Like Glen Johnson said, it is going to be the fight of the night.
JOHNSON: I want to thank everyone involved for putting this show together. Not just our fight, but the whole card. It’s a great card, a great night of boxing. The fans are going to be thrilled, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
I thank Chad for giving me the opportunity, Gary Shaw for letting this happen, and SHOWTIME and Warriors Boxing for believing in their athletes.
SHAW: Again, it’s the top of the card. Tarver‑Clinton Woods is the real fight. Everybody’s been saying that Tarver’s not fighting real fights. You heard Glen Johnson and Dawson talk about both fighters and what they thought about Clinton Woods and how tough Clinton is.
I give credit to Clinton Woods for being one of the few British fighters who will come across the pond and fight. He said he’d come across and fight Tarver, and he did.
To me, Antonio Tarver is probably the best light heavyweight in the world. It seems that only three people want to believe that right now. That’s Al Haymon, Tarver and myself.
On April 12th, you’ll see that Tarver’s here, and he’s the old Tarver. A lot of people still have that crazy perception of fights that he shouldn’t have taken, some that he took too quick when he came back from the movie.
But on April 12th, everybody will see who Antonio Tarver really is, when he steps up and fights Clinton Woods on a great doubleheader on April 12 on SHOWTIME.
TARVER: I’m eager and excited. I can’t remember a better camp. I’m focused and looking forward to April 12 more than anyone.
I’m not really taken back or surprised that I’m underrated once again. I mean, all I’ve ever done is be successful and win. It’s never enough.
No one can say they whooped me. Glen Johnson can say what he wants. Everybody is rooting for my opponent because they don’t want to see me. Roy Jones go on record, I want to fight Clinton Woods when he beats Tarver. But he wouldn’t be able to beat me. You understand me?
The bottom line is I’m a headache for anybody. When I’m ready to fight, and focused mentally and physically and in great shape, I’m undefeated. That’s my record.
When given the opportunity to fight again, I’ve come back and avenged my loss. It might have been a political loss or I just didn’t show up that night for whatever reason. But, I learned from all my mistakes.
The bottom line is I know I’m the best and I’m going to prove that. My first thing is I came back. I told the world I wanted to become undisputed champion. This is one step toward that goal. When I become undisputed champion, I’m looking to go out on top and hang my head on the fact that I was one of the best of all time, bottom line.
WOODS: It’s going to be in America. This is my second big fight in America. My clinic has been fantastic and I feel strong. I am physically ready for this fight. It’s probably the biggest fight of my career.
I’ve been champion for three years now. I’ve fought some good fighters. I feel as though I’m in tip‑top condition.
I think the Americans are going to love my style of fighting. I’m just ready for this fight. It’s been a long time coming for me. I just want to go out there and showcase my talent. I’m sure that I’m going to be the one who comes out on top.
QUESTION: Antonio, everybody’s been pointing to a fight with Chad Dawson, if you’re both victorious on Saturday, April 12 on SHOWTIME. Is there anyway to pass Glen Johnson?
TARVER: I don’t know what Chad does. He’s his own man. I’m sure he’s not going to be naive enough to look past Glen Johnson, a proven champion, proven veteran. The guy’s resume speaks for itself. I don’t think Chad has come this far to look past anyone.
But I’m not going to speak on that fight. You just asked him all the questions.
QUESTION: Is there anyway you look past Clinton?
TARVER: I don’t look past anybody. I didn’t get this far by looking past opponents. I’m coming to do what I do, and that’s win. I’m in great shape. I can’t stress that enough. I’m ready and I’m eager. I don’t look past Clinton. I’m ready for Clinton Woods. I’m not looking past him, not at all.
QUESTION: What’s it going to be like fighting in Tampa, which is your hometown?
TARVER: It will be just like it was when I fought Roy here. It’s going to be electrifying. People come, pay their money and they expect great things out of me. So there’s a little added pressure, but I step up to the pressure.
I love the pressure. That’s when I’m at my best, when all the chips are down. That’s how we’re approaching this fight. There is nothing past Clinton Woods if I’m not victorious.
So my whole thing is why would I be silly enough to look past anybody at this stage of my career? There’s so much more to prove, so much more to gain. There is so much more to accomplish.
I feel like right now I’m at the pinnacle of my career. I’m going to go out with a bang. I’m going to lay it out on the line.
If Clinton Woods comes to fight like he said, I suspect that this fight can be right up there with the fight of the year. If everybody comes and does what they say they’re going to do. There’s enough at stake that there’s no more tomorrow.
So those are the top fights that the boxing fans can really, truly get excited about and look forward to. I’m glad I’m a part of this fight. We have four great light heavyweights involved, the cream of the crop. We’re going to see who’s going to rise to the top.
QUESTION: How much did the movie (Rocky) drain you when you went in the ring against Hopkins?
TARVER: I can say that I left it on the road, because we were doing a tremendous amount of running. I felt like camp went well. But maybe we rushed into it.
February we signed on the fight, and we had to lose a significant amount of weight.
But I’ve never made any excuses. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I made an excuse for that fight. Hopkins came, did what he had to do. Everybody that witnessed the fight knew I was not even a shell of myself.
So when you do the comparisons, when you go back and look at the tapes of my fights, you know when I’m feeling good, when I’m energetic and all that, you know what type of fighter to expect. Even walking out to the fight, people knew when they looked in my eyes that something was missing, something was wrong.
I contemplated a whole lot of things happening, I just never thought that the training camp could take such a toll on me. But, hey, I had to lose a significant amount of weight.
But that’s the business. When I sign on to fight 175, it is my responsibility as a professional, as a champion to get the weight down by any means necessary. I did what I had to do. I showed up, I felt fine. Obviously, I fell flat.
Bernard Hopkins won the fight. But on my worst night I was able to stay in there for 12 rounds.
It wasn’t as competitive as I would have liked. But I was in there, due to my skill and my ability. I was able to stay on my feet make it through the fight and didn’t get hurt.
If somebody shows up like that against me, he’s going to have serious problems. He may never fight again. I have ruined a lot of fighters, just look at my record. A lot of fighters can say Antonio Tarver was their last fight.
So looking past me is dumfounding to me. It’s totally asinine, it’s incredible that somebody can say they’re looking past me, coming into a big fight like this. Making plans to fight this guy, that guy, you know. There may not be a tomorrow after April 12.
QUESTION: Just your thoughts on that Hopkins-Calzaghe? Does Hopkins have anything left, do you think?
TARVER: Yeah, Hopkins has something left. He’s going to always be a cagey, cagey fighter. He’s going to always know how to make a good fighter look less than stellar by the little tricks that he does. He’s always going to be in the best of shape.
I mean, Hopkins definitely still has a fighting chance. But like you said, one day it may all be gone. But, you know, I don’t think that’s the case. I think Hopkins will definitely be in the fight.
When you look at styles, styles make fights. Calzaghe is a very energetic fighter. He throws a lot of punches, but he takes a lot of chances. A great kind of puncher can catch him, but it will take a great kind of puncher. It takes someone with a lot of tricks. You’ve got to have some speed of your own. You’ve got to have some power to really get his respect.
I don’t know if that’s Hopkins or not, but we’ll see. May the best man win.
QUESTION: I was wondering what your thoughts are on the match‑up between Chad and Glen Johnson?
WOODS: I’ve been in the ring three times with Glen, in three really hard fights with him. Chad’s a good, slippery fighter with good moves and fast speed. He’s got youth.
But Johnson just keeps having a good night. It’s a hard one to call. But if I had to put my money down, I would put it on the young fighter in Chad.
QUESTION: Antonio assessed the Calzaghe‑Hopkins fight. Can you tell us who you think will win that fight?
WOODS: For me, I think Calzaghe has the fresher factor. He’s he the bigger guy, really.
So I think Joe’s the bigger fighter. He’s going to have the bigger pull this year. I’m 90% sure that it will be Hopkins at the end of the night.
QUESTION: How would you assess Antonio’s last few performances?
WOODS: I just watched his last two fights. I didn’t watch the Hopkins fight. Everybody’s telling me about the Hopkins fight, but I haven’t seen or watched the fight.
He’s lost two fights. He did look fresh. At the end of 12‑rounds, he looked back to himself. He did a good 12‑rounder in a hard fight. I think he’s back to his best. T
QUESTION: Clinton, have you done anything different since you’ve been out there?
WOODS: Not really. I’ve just been working on quite a lot of speed work on the pads. Actually, I’ve got a few sparring partners lined up, and I’ve gotten some good sparring in. I’ve been working on more speed on the pads and, obviously, the southpaw sparring.
It’s going good. The training has gone absolutely fantastic. I’m in fantastic shape. One more week of hard training, and I’ll be ready for it.
QUESTION: A bit nervous, Clinton? It’s been a few years since you fought over in America.
WOODS: Yeah, there’s obviously nerves there. There’s a fear. A fear I’m fighting a great puncher, a great fighter in Antonio Tarver. But that’s what I relish. I relish fighting with fear. I think that fear’s going to reward me at the end of the night.
When I fight, I’ve got fear in me. I feel I fight better.
QUESTION: Would this be the biggest win of your career?
WOODS: This is the biggest fight of my career. When I fought Jones, I didn’t come with a title. This time I’m defending my own title. I keep telling people, I’m in the best shape of my career.
It’s a massive win. On Saturday it will go down as my greatest victory. I will be the greatest British fighter light heavyweight, so it’s a massive event for me.
QUESTION: Clinton, are you in Florida now?
WOODS: Yea, I’m in Florida at the moment.
QUESTION: How long have you been there?
WOODS: I’ve been here since Sunday, so three or four days.
QUESTION: There’s not going to be a problem with acclamation?
WOODS: No, no problem. We’re here two weeks before the fight, so no problem.
QUESTION: I wondered if you could talk about how you have changed as a fighter since the Jones fight in Portland?
WOODS: When I fought Jones, I was not doing the proper training. I wasn’t eating the proper food. I just trained for that fight.
But now I’ve got people around me. I have a nutritionist, which I never had before. They’re guarding my food and guarding my weight. That has made me into a stronger, fitter fighter. Right now I’ve got a proper team around me. I’ve got proper people to look after me.
QUESTION: Is your second training camp for U.S. fight? Are there any changes you’ve made from how you approach things for?
WOODS: In Portland, it got like a holiday towards the end. This time there’s two weeks. Two weeks in Miami with the kids, that’s enough for me. I think it’s going to be perfect.
QUESTION: are you still maintaining the anger you had before you fought Santiago?
TARVER: Well, you know, I have a lot to look back at and say, hey, I don’t always get a fair shake at things. But that’s motivation. I always use it as motivation.
Right now it’s the quiet before the storm, basically. I’m just looking forward to getting in on the 12th. I’m feeling good about everything. I’m going to let my punches do the speaking for me.
I think everybody knows how I feel. I just need Clinton to show up, and the rest is going to fall into place. I mean, it’s I’m focused on the fight. It’s a big night for me. I’m excited about it, and I can’t wait.
QUESTION: Is Woods the right opponent for you right now?
TARVER: I’ve got one mission in mind and that is to become undisputed light heavyweight champion. He has one of the belts, so this fight is very important. Once I take care of business on the 12th, I’m one step closer to unifying this division. I’ll be one step closer to going out on top and being remembered as one of the best that ever did it. That’s what I’m hell bent on achieving right now. That’s my goal.
QUESTION: You’re both tall light heavyweights. Does that have any significance to you?
TARVER: No, not at all. Height, weight, reach, it really doesn’t matter to me. As long as you weigh 175 pounds it doesn’t matter. I’ve fought tall guys before, and I’ve fought taller guys before. I’ve been successful with all types of guys.
That’s one thing about boxing. You want to master your craft. I’m not a one dimensional fighter. I can change on the drop of a dime. I can adjust to whatever is going on in front of me.
So I feel confident that if I have to take it to another level or do something different in order to secure a victory, I’ll be able to do that. I’m in the shape in order to allow my talents to do everything that we can do.
So I’m going in there just with the spirit, going in there to have a good time. I am going to dissect Woods anyway I can. I’m going to get him out of there and make sure I secure the victory.
QUESTION: You’re 39 years old and you’re still doing well, what do you attribute that to?
TARVER: I can say that I’ve truly taken care of myself. I just think it’s in my genes. I don’t see a lot of people my age walking around with the type of energy that I have.
It’s happiness and feeling really good about yourself and where you’re at in your life. I just really haven’t had anything to get down about. I’ve been as successful as anyone in this game. I’ve accomplished every goal I set out to accomplish.
It’s all about living well, being happy and having people that truly love you around you. That adds years to your life. With this boxing game, I started late. I didn’t turn pro until I was 27. So I’m still young.
I don’t even have over 30 fights. Every opponent I face has 40 or 50 fights. I just took the right fights. I didn’t have 25 fights just to get my record built up. I went out there and fought the best. When I was 11‑0, I was fighting main event type fights. I was fighting tough fights. Every fight was meaningful.
I just really haven’t abused myself. I’ve taken the fights that were there. I haven’t taken any punishment and sparring out in a fight. I attribute that to my defense.
QUESTION: You seem very enthusiastic, confident, and happy to be training, which was something we didn’t see the night that you fought Bernard. What would you attribute that to?
TARVER: Just being back, man. I just love being back, with a whole lot to prove. That’s when I’m at my best. When I have my back against the wall, I have these naysayers saying what they say.
I’m back and my body feels great. I have the best sparring in here. I’m going to let my work speak for me.
QUESTION: If you become the undisputed champion, would you be satisfied with your career? Would you see yourself continuing after that?
TARVER: I’m satisfied with my career right now, but you always want to set goals for yourself. As long as you have more to achieve, more to accomplish, then the show must go on.
Like I said, when it’s obvious that I’m no longer the best, I have to rethink my career. But right now I just have to prove that I’m still very much the gatekeeper to the light heavyweight division.
QUESTION: How fun was that for you to be a part of “Rocky Balboa”?
TARVER: It was definitely a life‑changing experience. I never thought I was going to be a part of something like that. As a kid growing up, I was a huge fan of the Rocky franchise.
It was one of those opportunities that was a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity. I’m just glad that he chose me, and I have no regrets. Like I said, it will be a memory for people to watch that movie and say it was one of the best Rocky movies. Better than the first one, that says a lot.
I think he should have shown me a whole lot more, you know what I mean? He’s a great writer and producer. I just had fun.
QUESTION: Clinton, who did you spar with and how did your sparring go?
WOODS: I sparred with some guys in England, some guys that you don’t really know. They were young guys, very fit guys.
They were quite flashy the way they were boxing. They were boxing for the Olympic sport. So like I say, they were young, quite flashy guys, similar to the style of Tarver.
I had a couple of Americans come, one I forgot his name. The sparring has gone well. I haven’t fought many southpaws. But all of them in the last two or three months has been fighting in the ring with southpaws.
I’ll overcome that. I’m not going to get a sparring partner who is exactly like Tarver. Tarver’s a bit unique. But I’m a champion, and I’m so hungry to win it. It’s just something that I’ll get through.
QUESTION: Do you think Clinton has improved in it the ring over the last few fights?
TARVER: Any time you become champion, you improve. There’s just so much at stake. I’ve been several times, and I’m here now. I feel that just his experience has helped him a lot. He understands how to get in there and get out 12‑rounds if he’s behind.
I’m not expecting Clinton Woods to come here and lay down by any means. I know I have my work cut out for me. That’s what champions are all about. That’s why we step up to the plate.
Everything that you have after the fact allows you to go places and do things that you didn’t even think you were capable of doing. That’s why you prepare so hard, because the unknown is out there. We can’t predict it.
I feel really good about my preparation, and I’m sure he feels good about his. But we have to go to the big dance, and at the big dance, anything can happen.
We have to be prepared for a grueling, 12‑round, toe to toe war. One punch, one clip and it’s over in a flash. That is the beauty of boxing. The ebb and flow.
We’re on a head‑on collision. But I know one thing, I’ve never been stopped. I don’t plan on being stopped. When I have to bite down on my mouth piece, I’m going to get it out. I’m going to lay it on the line. Everything I accomplished in boxing, I’m ready to lay it on the line on the April 12.
I’m passionate about this fight. I’m excited. It’s in my hometown. This man is coming all the way from England to take something that is rightfully mine.
So you know, we’ve got the drama built-up and set‑up in this fight. It’s going to go down in Tampa, Florida, on the 12th. If you miss this, you’re going to miss everything.
I know Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson are fighting for the opportunity to dance with the man. But Clinton Woods has a chance right now today to shut it all down and move on to be a superstar in England.
Let the fireworks begin on the 12th, baby. I’m ready to put this whole light heavyweight division on a whole different perspective.
We’ve got a lot of names, lot of champions, but there can only be one. There can only be one champion. I’m ready to show these people they can never underestimate the “Magic Man.”
QUESTION: Antonio, I want to ask you where you think you are in your career at this point?
TARVER: My whole thing is this: I want those belts. What I’m thriving on right now are the guys that are holding the armor. That I want, all three, all four of those belts around my waist.
Anybody that wants to do business in the light heavyweight division, they’ve got to come and see me. That’s the position and the power I want. I need to get those belts in order to be king of the light heavyweight division.
QUESTION: Clinton, Do you have any concern if this goes the distance and if that could create a problem in the decision?
WOODS: No, not really. I’m just going to go in there with no doubts in mind. I’m going to go in there want to win the fight. You’ll make up your own mind.
I just feel as though there will be no way that you can give it to Antonio, so I’m not worried about it. People keep talking about why I’ve always fought in England. The reason I fought in England is because the purses.
QUESTION: Any predictions for the fight?
WOODS: I’m just confident I’ll win the fight. I predict I’ll win it. I’ll find a way, I always do. May the best man win. I’m looking forward to fighting a great fighter in Antonio Tarver. That’s what he is, he’s a great fighter. He’s achieved a lot more in boxing than me. I’m just looking forward to the fight.
TARVER: Beautiful. My achievements and accomplishments sometimes fall on deaf ears. They still can’t see me. And they still can’t hear me. I’m going to have to put mine on display April 12.
I’m not predicting anything, but I’m coming to fight the fight of my life. I’m going to let it all hang out. All I need is Clinton Woods to bring his himself to the fight. That’s it.
SHAW: I want to thank both fighters for taking the fight. Antonio said it well; it is going to be a great night with two great fights and four great fighters. This hasn’t been done in the light heavyweight division before.
It’s all going to take place in Tarver’s hometown of Tampa. Everybody just needs to show up. They’ll get the fight of their lives because everything’s on the line. Tarver said it well. Everything’s on the line in both these fights.
Two guys are going to come out victorious, and we’ll see what happens after that. For right now, in the light heavyweight division, everything is on the line April 12th in Tampa.