Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Tarver discusses victory over Green, his divorce and his future

Antonio Tarver stopped Danny Green in the ninth round of a cruiserweight fight on July 20 before the latter's hometown fans in Australia.

Not only was it the first time Green had been knocked out but it ended winning streak at 10 fights for the Aussie and simultaneously resurrected the career of Tarver, who is 42.

But to hear it from Tarver (29-6, 20 knockouts), the fight was the easy part. The hard part was enduring a five-year marriage that ended in divorce, which Tarver said freed him up mentally, emotionally and spiritually to release his energy against Green (31-4, 27 KOs).

Tarver is coming off a unanimous-decision victory against Nagy Aguilera in a heavyweight fight in October. However, before that, he had lost consecutive decisions to Chad Dawson.

The first loss to Dawson ended a winning streak at three fights for Tarver, whose previous setback had been against Bernard Hopkins in June of 2006.

Tarver said that he would now focus on getting a rematch with Hopkins and a third fight with Dawson, or possibly heavyweight fights against RING champion Wladimir Klitschko or ex-titleholder David Haye.

A former light heavyweight titleholder who works as a Showtime analyst, Tarver announced his unretirement on the air following a Andre Ward’s victory over Allan Green last month.

Tarver will return to his role as a commentator on Aug. 6, when Kelly Pavlik meets Darryl Cunningham.

Tarver granted RingTV.com his first interview since the victory over Green.

RingTV.com: Did you feel like the old Antonio Tarver in there against Danny Green?

Antonio Tarver: I did, man. I did feel like the old Antonio Tarver. I had gone through some adversity leading up to this fight. I had gone through a divorce. But I feel that God doesn't make any mistakes, man. I would say that in the last four to five years, dealing with someone that close to you, they have a tendency to affect you, whether it is in a negative or a positive way.

So I can truly say that during that time, I have been totally distracted, emotionally and mentally, in all of my fights. The two Chad Dawson fights. You know? Ever since the Bernard Hopkins fight.

RingTV.com: How did that focus manifest itself leading up to this opportunity?

AT: You know, I was finally able to channel all of that in the right direction. Once God removed that from my life, I was able to see what was really important, and I was able to channel that. I was able to make it a real attribute to my focus. You know, when you love something, it can become a real part of you. Sometimes, though, God knows what's best for you, even though we don't know it and can't see it.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. On May 7, I found out that we were no longer going to be able to stay together. I went to training camp that next day with a complete focus of just giving my career and giving my body my 100 percent all.

My divorce was final on June 30. I was able to put all of my training videos up on YouTube. I wanted to show the world that I had really made a mental committment to be the best fighter that I could be.

RingTV.com: How confident were you of victory heading into the fight?

AT: Well, I was surprised that I was a 4-to-1 underdog. I don't know how these people just see and can't recognize real talent and real ability. So right now, I'm feeling as if when I'm on my game, then I'm really tough to beat. That's how confident I was going into that Danny Green fight. This guy had not lost since lost since 2006. I mean, he had defended his title five or six times, and he was a two or three division champion and had never been knocked out. Go back and look at those press conferences and the videos that I posted.

Go back and look at the interviews that I did. I knew that I had to take this fight out of the judges' hands. I knew that I had to have a dominating performance against a younger guy who was riding high. I mean, he was coming off of wins over B.J. Flores and a first-round knockout over Roy Jones. So I knew that I had to come in being in supreme condition and with that mental focus of, you know what?

I'm not going to be denied. I was like, “I'm going get this done, and I know that I have the ability and the skill to get it done.” I was in a fight where I was fighting a brawler and I hardly got touched. I am able to stay in this game and have longevity because I don't take punishment. I mean, when I'm on my game, you know, I'm hard to beat.

RingTV.com: What does this do for your legacy?

AT: Well, throughout my career, there are only two men I can say that truly beat me, and that I didn't beat them. And that's a young Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins. If it all ended today, then I feel as if I could say that I had a great career, and those are the only people who beat me, and I didn't beat them. I beat Eric Harding the second time. I beat Glen Johnson the second time. I beat Roy Jones twice after he beat me. I felt like I beat Chad Dawson the second time.

I lost to Bernard Hopkins, but, you know, who knows what's in the cards for the future? Maybe we'll meet again. Nobody is swelling me up. I can say that I'm one of the best men out there of the last 20 years. I'm great at my art, man. My record speaks for itself. I'm just saying that I've proven to the world that I'm one of the best in the game, and my talent and my skill-level can no longer be denied.

RingTV.com: How do you mean?

AT: I mean, they can't continue to say that I'm a one-hit wonder because I was the first one to knock out Roy Jones. Well, you know what? I knocked out a lot of people, and I fought a lot of people. There's one thing that they can say about Antonio Tarver: When you fight Antonio Tarver, you are never the same. I take things out of fighters. Chad Dawson went over there and lost to Jean Pascal.

RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson?

AT: I don't know what Chad Dawson is going to show up against Bernard, but I'm interested in seeing how that fight goes on and how it ends up. I think that it's a tough fight for Bernard. Chad is a mover, and he has good pop in his punches. He has hand speed and he's mobile. I don't see how Bernard is going to be able to trap this kid and make him dance by his tune. So it's an interesting fight. But I'm enjoying this victory, and it's one that we worked very hard for as a team.

As far as Team Tarver, I've got a lot of people to thank out there. I'm going to be continuing to be the “Magic Man.” And when these people continue to underestimate me, I'm going to continue to rise and to shine above all. When God is with you, you prosper. And I firmly believe that. When I'm sound mentally, spiritually and physically on one accord, at the age of 42, I'm very hard to beat. I don't know how long I'm going to do this, but I will tell you, I don't see anybody beating me.

I don't see anybody in the cruiserweight division, I don't see Bernard Hopkins, I don't see any of those guys stepping up to me and doing anything to me. Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye, it doesn't matter. Just sign the contract, and I'm going to be ready to win. All that I want to do is to win.

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