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Antonio Tarver and Steve Cunningham trade verbal blows

Rob Day

Rob Day has experience writing for Ringnews24, Boxrec and he has written for boxing magazine, Bocsio. Rob covers boxing in the South of Wales. He can be found occasionally as a guest on boxing radio shows.

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In a recent Media Conference call, Antonio Tarver and Steve Cunningham exchanged lively verbal blows ahead of their August 14th clash. Their contest takes place at the Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey on Friday, 14th August, 2015.

The contest takes place in the Heavyweight division where Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) has scored two victories; Mike Sheppard WTKO4th and Johnathon Banks WKO7th. The “Magic Man”, a former World champion in the Light Heavyweight division, hasn’t fought in 2015.

Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs), a former World champion at Cruiserweight, has been campaigning at Heavyweight since 2012, with wins over Jason Gavern WUD, Manuel Quezada WUD, Natu Visinia WRTD7th. His biggest win coming against then-undefeated Amir Mansour via unanimous decision, in 2014. Steve’s only fight in 2015, was a twelve round points defeat to Vyacheslav Glazkov, in March at the Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has also been defeated by Tomasz Adamek, on points, and Tyson Fury, via 7th round KO.

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The verbal fireworks started after Steve was asked about being the underdog going into the fight.

Steve Cunningham

I’ve been getting counted out since I started challenging for a world title. I’ve been traveling to Europe fighting in Poland where nobody wants to go. Fighting in Germany, successfully defending my title numerous times, where nobody wants to go. South Africa, where nobody wants to go. I could care less about what anybody says. When I fought Marco Huck I was the five to one underdog and they threw the towel in on him in the last round. So I can care less about what anyone says. I’ve got to question myself to Antonio Tarver. He’s speaking about his respect for me and there is respect for fighters regardless before and after the fight.

But a lot of people who know fighters, they know that at a certain point in training camp a fighter is agitated, he’s ready to fight, and it’s time to fight. I’ve been at that point, so I’m ready to fight right now.

He’s trying to compare life woes. My daughter’s struggle and the struggle he said he went through in the past three years. Look dude, you can keep all the woes. You can take my daughter’s woes. You can take your woes. I don’t want them. Nobody wants those woes. We can’t compare that. I’m not into comparing life woes.

Now you say your life was hard in the past three years and nobody could understand; nobody could fathom. Have you been driving that Bentley you bought after the Green fight?

You’ve been driving in a Bentley. You understand what I’m saying. Have you made over $500,000 in the last three years? I haven’t. I don’t have a Bentley and beating you is going to get me that; you understand.

So don’t try to compare nothing that you’ve been through that will not stand up to a damn thing Steve Cunningham has been through in his whole career.

Antonio Tarver

With all due respect, I think you kind of misinterpreted what I was saying. I know we both got struggles and I respect that. And no, my struggles may not be personal like yours, family oriented, and I respect that too.

But what I’m saying that the struggle that I had to overcome to get back to where I’m at right now today. After I got suspended, I can just talk all day about it. Losing my job; losing the opportunity to commentate in the Olympics; that meant a lot to me.

Steve Cunningham

But listen, we can go all day. We could trade back and forth all day like baseball cards. You had troubles; I had troubles.

Antonio Tarver

No income. I didn’t make no income.

Steve Cunningham

We’re going to get in the ring and match skills. I don’t want to hear about your woes. I’m actually sick about talking about my daughter’s situation because it’s out there.

Antonio Tarver

But look dude, I’m just giving – I’m giving you the utmost respect on that because I’d understand if it was my daughter, I understand that’s out of our control.

Steve Cunningham

Well this is another question I have for you then. Where does all this utmost respect come from? A few years ago it was all, who are you. You’re nobody. Come on man, let’s keep it real. No Tarver, let’s keep it real.

Antonio Tarver

I keep it real.

Steve Cunningham

I’m not one of these smart-ass, trash talkers who can run they mouth and get themselves into some money. I fight to get my money, you understand? So you’re that dude who runs his mouth so much. You’re a professional mouth-runner.

Yes you’re a great fighter but then you’re also a professional mouth-runner. I’m a professional fighter, period. You understand? I’m not jumping in the ring on August 14 to beat the hell out of Antonio Tarver. Do you understand?

Antonio Tarver

Hey, that’s your mission. That’s everybody’s mission. But at the same time, I don’t understand where you’re coming from because I’ve been as quiet as I’ve ever been before a fight. I haven’t really been digging at you about nothing. I’m giving you the utmost respect because I know you’re a warrior. I know you’re coming to win, and I know I’ve got my hands full. That’s why I’m busting my ass in training camp.

If you ask me, I think you’re taking me lightly. You’re overlooking me. How in the hell you going to break camp and go to Vegas and commentate, like you’ve got it easy. You feel me? I wouldn’t break camp for you, but you going to break camp for me? Good luck August 14.

Steve Cunningham

If you think me going to commentate for two days is breaking camp…

Antonio Tarver

You got a problem. You’re out your rabbit ass mind. You going to fly to Vegas and think you going to beat me August 14, you crazy. You out your mind. You distracted.

Steve Cunningham

I was ready to fight when they announced it. Do you understand me?

Antonio Tarver

You don’t know what’s coming at your ass August 14. You playing.

Steve Cunningham

Distracted? There’s no such thing as a distraction.

Antonio Tarver

You playing with it. I ain’t Marco Huck. When I knocked Danny Green out, none of them clowns wanted to fight me. I ain’t Marco Huck.

Steve Cunningham

When you start looking like him in the 12th, then think about that.

Antonio Tarver

Whatever. Hey, enjoy your weekend in Vegas, bro. I’m going to be in camp. Putting on the fine touches – putting on the final touches to this great training camp I’ve had.

Steve Cunningham

I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to drink a beer. Man you going to be putting on final touches for a long time fat boy.

Antonio Tarver

Go to Vegas.

Steve Cunningham

You need to be in camp for seven, eight, nine weeks.

Antonio Tarver

Ain’t nothing fat about me. Ain’t nothing fat about me, I’m just not a muscular toned guy. I knocked a lot of them out though. I’ve knocked a lot of muscular men out. Them the easiest muscles to box.

Steve Cunningham

August 14. That’s it.

Antonio Tarver

Muscles ain’t never whipped me. I can’t believe you so irate.

Steve Cunningham

I’ll see you August 14, my man.

Antonio Tarver

I ain’t even did nothing psychological. I ain’t even got to play the psychological game. Your mind is already gone. Your mind already blown. Just the thought of August 14, so it’s going to be easy pickings.

Steve Cunningham

There’s no way in God’s green earth you could ever, ever attack me psychologically. I’m a war tested as a veteran of this country.
You sound like you’re getting yourself up for the fight right now. Like you’re a hype man.

Antonio Tarver

I’m keeping it 100 with you Steve. I’m keeping it 100 with you boy.

Steve Cunningham

Keep it 100 with me and let’s have this out.

Antonio Tarver

All the rest of the those guys you fought are basic robotic standup fighters.

Steve Cunningham

The strength of Antonio Tarver is steroid use. Weakness is his mouth.

Antonio Tarver

Now that’s the most disrespectful thing. Because someone say you failed the test, that don’t mean nothing. You can go to GNC and get whatever you want. It may not be NFS certified.

But I spent my year. I did my time and that’s it. That’s behind me. That ain’t got nothing to do with right now. You looking for excuses already. Ain’t no steroids in my system bro. I don’t need no steroids. Never have, period.

Steve Cunningham

The question was for me, now let me get my time.

Antonio Tarver

So I just don’t understand why you trying to shoot low. I can get off the phone man. I’ll see you August 14. I ain’t got time to go through this with you.

Steve Cunningham

Bye. Bye.

Antonio Tarver

I ain’t got time to do this with you. Because that stuff you talking is beneath me.

Steve Cunningham

I’ll see you in a few weeks, bro. See you.

Antonio Tarver

Beneath me.

Steve Cunningham

Bye, hang up.

Antonio Tarver

Man his weakness is me. He fighting me. That’s his weakness. He ain’t got no weakness as far as boxing is concerned. He’s a complete fighter. He has the heart, he has the durability; he’s a strong fighter. He’s going to be there to win but he’s fighting me. That’s the difference from everybody else he’s ever fought, he’s fighting me; period. A hungry, determined, focused Magic Man.

Steve Cunningham

But how you hungry and you driving Bentleys? How you hungry and you making over $500,000 a year? I ain’t see those numbers yet bro.

Antonio Tarver

I’m going to tell you because I’m not a prize fighter. I don’t fight for the money, I fight for pride. I fight for the glory of the game. It ain’t about no money. I make money. It ain’t about that. It’s about my name, it’s about my history.

This Hall of Fame run – this Hall of Fame run that I want to put the final chapter on my career. That’s it. It’s bigger than money Steve. It’s bigger than money.
—————————-
The Verbal sparring is there and as a contest it is one that intrigues me. Sure, both fighters have seen better days. But, as a contest, it will be fascinating to see who prevails.

The PBC on Spike card is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Warriors Boxing and Huck Sports Promotions and also features Marco Huck vs Krzysztof Glowacki.

Ticket and TV info:

Tickets for event are priced at $150, $100, $70 and $45 not including service charges. They’re available at Ticketmaster.com or charged by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or at any Ticketmaster outlet. They can also be purchased Prudential Center’s box office. The Spike telecast and PBC off site telecast will begin at 9 pm both Eastern Time and Pacific Time.

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