NEW YORK (Oct. 8, 2010) – Feeling like he has much more to give the world of boxing, four-time light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver will jump two weight classes to the heavyweight division in his comeback to the ring on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Oct. 15, LIVE on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
Tarver (27-6, 19 KOs) of Tampa, Fla., will get his first heavyweight test in a 10-round tilt at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., when he squares off against 24-year-old Nagy “Dominican Dynamite” Aguilera (16-4, 11 KOs) of Newburgh, N.Y. by way of the Dominican Republic.
In an exciting 10-round welterweight co-feature, former Manny Pacquiao sparring partner and promising, unbeaten Shawn Porter (16-0, 12 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio, takes on a game Hector “El Huracan” Munoz (18-3-1, 11 KOs) of Albuquerque, N.M.
Tarver is making the move from the SHOWTIME broadcast booth back to the ring, where he hasn’t fought since May 2009. Tarver’s comeback is an attempt to become only the third fighter to move from light heavyweight to win a world title in the heavyweight division. It’s a long road but if he’s successful, Tarver would join elite company with Michael Spinks, who won the IBF heavyweight world title in 1985, and Roy Jones Jr., who won the WBA heavyweight world title in 2003.
A 13-year pro and just a month shy of 42, Tarver is a former WBC-IBF light heavyweight world champion. “People either think I’m crazy or they think I’m brilliant,” said Tarver. “They’re excited because there’s not a marquee name that is carrying the torch for the Americans. I just need about two or three fights to show I’m a real threat.”
Aguilera boasts an impressive opponent list throughout his three years as a professional. The 24-year-old holds a career-best first-round knockout over former WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in 2009.
A reporter recently asked Aguilera what it would be like to send another fighter into retirement after Maskaev left the public eye following his loss to Aguilera. “My job is not to retire guys, but just beat them,” Aguilera said. He has also shared the ring with the likes of Samuel Peter and, most recently, Maurice Harris in a 12-round unanimous decision loss on Aug. 6.
In Tarver, he’ll face not a “plodding heavyweight” but a “dazzling heavyweight,” to use Tarver’s words.
“I’ve got moves, speed and quickness,” Tarver said recently. “These big guys think they can just come in here and whop me down; they got another thing coming. They’re going to have to find me first. I’m going to be all over them. From every side, every angle. In and out; from the left side and the right. I’m unloading my bag of tricks.”
He continued: “I’ll probably come in at 217 and that’s beautiful. I’m not going to be a slow 230-pound fighter. I’m not going to do it. We’re going to match hearts against hearts and will against will and when it comes to the skill they can’t compete so that’s where we’re going to live. That’s where the chips are going to fall. If they don’t knock me out I don’t see them winning.”
The active Porter will be fighting on ShoBox for the fourth time in 10 months. In his last fight in a ShoBox co-feature on July 16 in Southhaven, Miss., he won a 10-round unanimous decision against left-handed Ray Robinson. On May 22 he recorded a fifth-round TKO win against Robert Kliewer and he knocked out Raul Pinzon in the first round of a ShoBox co-feature on April 16 in Salisbury, Md. He made his ShoBox debut in Hinckley, Minn., registering a fourth-round TKO against Jamar Patterson on Dec. 18, 2009.
Officially dropping down from junior middleweight because of his height, Porter was praised for his skills even before the move. In ESPN.com’s 2009 Prospect of the Year piece, Dan Rafael listed Porter as one of the future stars of boxing. “[Porter] was an outstanding amateur and has a bright pro future,” said Rafael. “The Cleveland resident is 5-7 and stocky, so perhaps a little undersized for [the junior middleweight] division. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, power and determination.”
The 22-year-old Porter had a stellar amateur career, winning the 2007 National Golden Gloves title and serving as alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
Porter holds amateur wins over current pro prospects Fernando Guerrero, Danny Jacobs, Shawn Estrada, Demetrius Andrade and Edwin Rodriguez.
Porter said he learned a lot from his training sessions with Pacquiao. “I took a lot from that experience,” he said. “He has a lot of good training habits and rituals that he uses, like praying before and after a training session, and his work ethic is pretty amazing. That kind of stuff stuck with me, and I think it’s really going to help me throughout my career from a training aspect to actually performing in the ring.”
Porter will continue the trend of stepping up his level of opposition in each ShoBox appearance when he faces Munoz.
At the age of 32, Munoz is a seven-year pro. He built an impressive 18-1 record over the first four years of his career with 17 of those 19 fights coming in New Mexico. Munoz has said that personal issues have kept him inactive over the past three years but that he is ready to dedicate himself to boxing completely now. In his last fight on April 17, Munoz was TKO’d by Philadelphia prospect Mike Jones in Atlantic City, N.J.
Munoz came to the sport late at age 18 as a way to stay out of trouble and had just three amateur fights.
He has worked as a chief sparring partner for the late Arturo Gatti and Fernando Vargas, whom he calls one of his best friends. In fact, Munoz said he will wear the robe Vargas gave him as a wedding gift into the ring on Friday night.
The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC., in association with Tony Holden Productions.
Curt Menefee will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.
About ShoBox: The New Generation
Since its inception in July 2001, the critically acclaimed SHOWTIME boxing series, ShoBox: The New Generation has featured young talent matched tough. The ShoBox philosophy is to televise exciting, crowd-pleasing and competitive matches while providing a proving ground for willing prospects determined to fight for a world title. The growing list of fighters who have appeared on ShoBox and advanced to garner world titles includes: Leonard Dorin, Scott Harrison, Juan Diaz, Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Joan Guzman, Juan Urango, David Diaz, Robert Guerrero, Kelly Pavlik, Paul Malignaggi, Kendall Holt, Timothy Bradley, Bernard Dunne, Yonnhy Perez, Yuri Foreman, Andre Ward and, most recently, Cornelius Bundrage.
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