Former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver weighed 221 pounds and Mike Sheppard weighed 227.6 pounds on Monday in advance of their Tuesday Golden Boy Live! main event on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes at The BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The Golden Boy Promotions card marks the end of a 16-month ring absence for Tarver.
“For this fight, I was anxious to get back,” said Tarver, who turned 45 on Nov. 21. “I really missed boxing. I wanted to go to heavyweight because if I was going to make my return, it had to be for something that is bigger than me.
“I had to set a goal and I want to become the heavyweight champion. It gives me something to come back for, something to reach for, and it gives me a mountain I can climb. That’s when I feel that I’m at my best, when I feel like my back is against the wall and I am the only one who thinks I can do it. I have to have the mindset and the spirit to get it done.”
Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) is returning to the ring against Sheppard (21-15-1, 9 KOs) for the first time since June of 2012 when he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid drostanolone following a draw-turned-no-contest with Lateef Kayode.
“I appreciate all of my fans sticking with me…My camp went great. I had great sparring partners. I ate well. I slept well. I got stronger and took away the fat and put on some muscle. I’m not ready, today, for the top 10, but I want to get right back to work,” said Tarver.
“If the only thing I’m doing is lifting weights and running, I will be working at my own pace, staying in the gym and not allowing myself to get out of shape…If I lose again, there’s a good chance I will hang it up. I don’t want that loss to come, and, hopefully, I’ll be heavyweight champ.”
A 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, Tarver is best known for winning two of three bouts with Roy Jones jr., including a second-round stoppage victory in their second meeting.
Tarver had won two straight before facing Kayode, having scored a unanimous decision as a heavyweight against Nagy Aguilera and a ninth-round knockout of cruiserweight Danny Green in October of 2010 and July of 2011, respectively, that helped him to rebound from consecutive unanimous decision losses to Chad Dawson in 2008 and 2009.
“After tomorrow’s fight, I’m going to recuperate in preparation for my next fight. I don’t know who that’s going to be, but I’m going to be ready. It won’t be long before I can call out the best heavyweights in the world and be a serious threat,” said Tarver.
“I am prepared for whatever Mike Sheppard is going to bring. I know that this is the chance of a lifetime for him. He knows that if he can beat me, then he can make a name for himself. I have to make sure that I protect my name and my reputation. I can’t wait. This is my re-introduction to the boxing world.”
Note: Quotes provided by publicist Lisa Milner.
THE REST OF THE TARVER-SHEPPPARD CARD
In addition, 2012 U.S. Olympian heavyweight Dominic Breazeale (7-0, 7 KOs) weighted 251.4 compared to 217.4 for Jamaica’s Keith Barr (11-4, 3 KOs).
For other bouts, lightweights Albert Bell (2-0, 1 KO) and Angel Hernandez (1-2) were 130.4 and 132.2, welterweights Erickson Lubin (debut) and Eric De Jesus (1-0, 1 KO) were 147 and 144.4, and junior lightweights Dennis Galarza (debut) and Harold Torres (0-3) weighed 126 and 130.4.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com.