There are 101 reasons not to like the heavyweight division right now. It's boring. It lacks depth. All the good fighters are in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The downward spiral boxing's glamour weight class has taken over the last few years has led to an even more irritating fact: Anyone thinks he can be in it.
And what about Haye? The British big mouth was making a nice living at cruiserweight before realizing that it wouldn't be too hard to hit
Two months shy of his 42nd birthday, Tarver says he is ready for a new challenge in a new weight class. Sure, Tarver, who will face
Everyone knows Tarver's motives. Money. It doesn't take a crystal ball to predict this future. Tarver will outpoint Aguilera and brag to the world that he is the next heavyweight champion. He will use the bounce from that fight to set up another easy win (
And he'll get one, too. That's life as a 21st-century heavyweight. One-time champion
Tarver is hustling right down that path. Think Haye won't jump at the opportunity to thump an aging, undersized American name? Or that Wladimir Klitschko, who is practically placing a classified ad in the European papers looking for an opponent, won't give Tarver a shot?
Tarver knows this. It's why he is stepping up the rhetoric now to build momentum toward one of those future fights.
"My time is now," Tarver said on a conference call. "I look at the heavyweight division and there really isn't a recognizable American that we can truly look at and say, 'That's our guy.' The Europeans have taken over the division. You just look at the name -- if it's Tarver-Klitschko or Tarver-Haye, that's a big name, that's big business. That's what we want to bring to the boxing game before I retire. That's big business and it's what people want to see."
Tarver is, of course, delusional. He was a punching bag for
The sad part is that Tarver doesn't need this. He's not a hard-luck story. In fact, Tarver has carved out a nice career as a commentator for Showtime. He's insightful, well-spoken and, unlike many ex-fighters-turned-commentators, actually adds something to the broadcast. But Showtime can't cut the kind of seven-figure check Tarver is looking for in a heavyweight title fight.
Tarver's cash grab will help his bottom line but will do little to help the sagging sport. Boxing doesn't need Tarver-Haye. It doesn't need Tarver-Klitschko. It needs quality heavyweight matchups fans can get behind. That means Haye-Klitschko. Or Valuev-Vitali Klitschko. Those are the fights that move the needle, not some spoon-fed garbage that has been given Showtime's stamp of approval.
So good luck, Antonio. We'll see you this time next year, when a real heavyweight puts you on your back and you tell us all what we already know: You shouldn't have been in that ring in the first place.