Doghouse Boxing fight picks for Tarver versus Johnson
Compiled by Anthony Cocks and Elisa Harrison (December 17, 2004)
The last big fight of the year takes place this Saturday night on HBO when former WBC champion Antonio Tarver takes on former IBF champion Glen Johnson in a bout to confirm the consensus king at 175 pounds. Who will win this battle of Roy Jones conquerors? Read on to find out who the learned DoghouseBoxing scribes think will win and why.
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Anthony Cocks: Johnson by split or majority decision. Tarver regularly has 'flat spots' in his fights where he does bugger all. Johnson on the other hand never stops throwing punches and he knows how to jab effectively against southpaws. Obviously Tarver is the bigger puncher by a country mile, but he has got a bad habit of waiting too long to get his shots off. Tarver is not a great inside fighter and Johnson's volume punching and underrated jab should allow him to get inside, bang on Tarver's body and outwork him down the stretch. Tarver is beatable if you disrupt his rhythm and that is exactly what I expect Johnson to do.
Of course I could be wrong and Johnson's high workrate may just fire up Tarver and force him to let his hands go, but from where I'm standing I like Johnson's chances of pulling off the so-called 'upset'.
Ben Carey: Johnson SD. Whilst Antonio Tarver shot to prominence by spectacularly stretching Roy Jones Jnr earlier in the year, it's fair to say that Jones's difficulty in boiling himself back down to 175lbs effectively finished him long before Tarver applied the finishing touches. Tarver's triumph, one which saw him outboxed before he landed the jackpot punch, has to be put in perspective and so too must be Glen Johnson's. However, Johnson's systematic 9th round beatdown of Jones impressed me more, as did the Road Warrior's IBF title winning effort against Clinton Woods in the Sheffield man's backyard in February. Possessing a blistering workrate despite having many miles on the clock, Johnson throws leather from beginning to end. Glen's body attacks are really impressive too. He almost broke the taller Woods in half, and I feel he can have similar joy against the lanky Tarver as well.
The winner of this fight could be the man who is prepared to work the hardest. It's worth remembering that Tarver narrowly lost to Jones the first time through his failure to apply himself more. Though Tarver's height and southpaw style is problematic for most, Johnson has handled leftys well throughout his career. I think he can eventually get inside Tarver's longer reach and pound away inside to clinch a close decision to complete a remarkable rags to riches journey.
Aaron Imholte: Tarver had it right when he said Roy was a dead man against Glen Johnson and he was the man who killed him. Roy was a shell of the former P4P great and I think it was more mental than physical. Either way I think Tarver wins this fight just by outclassing a very game Johnson. Tarver by TKO 11.
Martin Wade: Beautiful match of styles, a great old school light heavy bout . The great thing is neither man can hurt the other so this fight will go the distance. I like Tarver to dictate pace early with his rangy southpaw jab. Johnson will come on late with a brand of pressure the magic wont be able to deal with. Johnson by Split Decision.
Peter Chhim: Antonio Tarver decision Glen Johnson. I've been somewhat divided over this decision. On one hand I think that Antonio's solid boxing skills coupled with his power should be enough to carry him to victory. If he gets Glen's respect early, he should be able to keep him in sight with his jab, and enough launch combinations off it to win a unanimous decision or possibly stop him. Then on the other hand, I don't think many fighters work, or are as determined as Glen Johnson, and because of this conviction I can see him outworking Tarver for a decision. The Jamaican will apply a tremendous amount of pressure on Tarver and the question is, will the pressure be effective, or will Tarver be able to box around it? I'm leaning towards the latter, but you never know in boxing, after all, it is, "The Theatre of the impossible". If I had to put money down, I'd lay it on Tarver, whose boxing accumen might be sharper than Johnson's, and who equals, if not surpasses him in the power department. Btw, if you've been keeping track, since Don King's Heavyweight PPV, I've been 8-0 in my predictions.
Rob Scott: If you use Roy Jones as a measuring stick, yes both knocked him out, but Tarver seemed to be the one that had Jones' number. Johnson's victory seemed to be one against a Jones that had no interest and shouldn't even had been in the ring that night with any one. Has Johnson finally come into his own? Or is he the light heavyweight version of Danny Williams? Johnson may have come into his own, but it won't be enough for a victory against Tarver. I see Tarver stopping him late around the 10th-11th round.
Luke Dodemaide: Antonio Tarver by UD - Beat a better Roy Jones and will beat Glen Johnson. His style, skill and smarts are superior to Johnson and will guide him to a decision victory.
Bonus Prediction: Watch for Andre Ward to make a very impressive pro debut on the undercard that will get the boxing world talking. This kid is going to be a super star.
Spud Woollatt: When you predict on this fight, your trail of thought has to go to the Johnson/Jones fight, who would have thought Johnson would have sparked Jones ... immediately you do that, you also have to question how good Tarvers sensational knock out of Jones was as well ... questions that I really do feel need answering.
I have chose to ignore the "Jones Factor", instead I have looked at both fighters other results and once I have done that, I only come out with one result and that is a thoroughly one sided and convincing Tarver victory. Johnson is a hard man and he will be difficult to budge, but I am convinced that Johnson will find it very difficult indeed to get any success whatsoever in this fight.
I remain convinced that Tarver is indeed a class act and will prove he is the best Light Heavyweight in the division, with that said I think Tarver will punish Johnson throughout the fight and perhaps force a late stoppage around the 9th or 10th round, if not it will be a one sided points decision.
Benny Henderson Jr: When I look at this fight I can't help but take into consideration how tough Glen has been and never seemed to have gotten his props until the Jones victory. But even with the W over Jones I am putting my money on Tarver. Tarver is strong and confident at this point in his career and I feel he will over power the veteran to get a mid fight TKO. Yeah it seems far fetched when Johnson has only been Kayoed once in his entire career but I feel Tarver can and will pull it off.
Tom Gray: Tarver vs. Johnson: I think Tarver will win a unanimous decision in a decent fight. Tarver's jab and range will keep Johnson at bay, and I can't see the Jamaican being able top close the gap enough to take a decision. Neither knocks the other out!
Gavin Macleod: Tarver is my pick in this one on a really close decision. You can compare the records all night long but at the end of the day styles make fights. Johnson likes to come forward and force the action, using his workrate to bank rounds and wear down his opponent, which I think will help Tarver find his range behind a nice accurate jab. Having stopped all but four of his twenty two opponents the power advantage clearly resides in the gloves of Tarver and while it may not be enough to stop Johnson it should keep him far enough away to do any real damage. While I think Johnson will win a good few rounds through his sheer effort and attacking style, ultimately it is the better boxing, quicker hands and power of Tarver that should swing the majority of the fight enough to take home the win.
Martyn Elliott: It's difficult to imagine two more different characters than brash showman Tarver and the humble, hard-working Johnson - and their personalities will be reflected in their approaches to this contest.
Tarver will headhunt from the off and look for a spectacular knockout victory - but in Johnson he will encounter a durable opponent, more than prepared to take some punishment in order to earn victory. While Tarver likes to be flash, he has sometimes been guilty of not working hard enough in fights and that could prove costly on Saturday.
Johnson will look to pressure for the full 12 and rack up the rounds by being the busier boxer - that's how he finally won a 'world' title against Clinton Woods and he was well on top against Jones, even before the devastating knockout. There is no reason for him to change his approach for this one.
Johnson will have to survive some early pressure, but should outwork Tarver down the stretch to claim a unanimous points verdict. And if he does, there will be no-one more deserving of the title World Champion.
Greg Goodrich: Tarver keeps his distance against Johnson for much of the fight, utilizing superior reach and maintaining proper distance to control many of the exchanges. Johnson will do damage early, but Tarver has a little too much pop on his punches, and has intangible factors which weigh heavily in his favor- ability, height, reach and counter punching style. In the end, I see Tarver winning a razor thin decision victory, and establishing himself as the premier World Light Heavyweight Champion. Anyone for Tarver v Jones III?
Bonus Prediction: Ward by 3rd round TKO.
The Rest of the list is Compiled by Elisa Harrison: Team BRC Site Editor.
Jose Hernandez: I see Antonio Tarver out boxing Glen Johnson. Yes, Tarver has a big ego, and loves to talk. But, Tarver backs everything up. Glen Johnson has a good chin, so I see Tarver winning a 12 round UD.
Danny Serratelli: Antonio Tarver by Unanimous decision.
Kenny Perrault: Tarver by 7th round KO
Mike Letourneau: While I believe Johnson will come out aggressive and make the fight interesting, Tarver is the better skilled fighter and will eventually catch him. I'll go with Tarver by a 9th round TKO.
George Elasser: Pretty much a no-brainer … choice is Tarver by decision. Too many advantages over a Glen Johnson that may well have hit the jackpot with the RJJR knockout but, in boxing age, has reached AARP qualifying numbers.
Tarver no spring chicken, but enjoys the fresher body after no more than a rookie number total of 24 (22-2) pro bouts and facing a grizzled veteran of 52 (41-9-2) office visits. Toss in the height, quickness and working from the port side against a slower man and it’s pretty much a lock.
While both enjoy the celebrity of killing Superman I see no stoppage in this one. Am not buying the Tarver one punch looping Hail Mary to the RJ sweet spot as some newly found weapon … and Johnson has not found the fountain that Ponce was once searching for. Thus, it’s Tarver in control from start to finis and Glen’s back to back mega paychecks is a fantastic way to call it a career.
Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Looking at the match up of Glen Johnson vs Antonio Tarver, my first thoughts were that Tarver would win by KO early. But after thinking about it a bit, I notice that Tarver has moments in rounds where he doesn't do much but stand around looking disinterested. Johnson showed in his biggest fight against Roy Jones Jr. that he will bring the fight and outwork his opponent. He showed some serious dedication in his performance against Jones and I expect his match with Tarver will be equally inspired.
Look for this to be a close fight with Johnson outworking Tarver and win by split decision.
Ed Ludwig: We close out 2004 with a very appealing match-up. Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver have looked very impressive heading into Saturday's fight. It was Roy Jones Jr.'s back to back losses that made the battle of the two best happen. Tarver is on top of his game but I question Johnson being considered the number two man in the Light Heavyweight division. I am going with Tarver to win on points. I feel that going into the later rounds Tarver will be able to pull away. Johnson is a good fighter and technically sound but he has been in a lot of tough fights and is somewhat shopworn. Tarver has not had as many fights or wars and I think he can be the top Light Heavyweight as long as his body lets him.
Tom Dickey: I like Tarver by a decision. I really believe this fight has the opportunity to be a very good fight. Johnson constantly pressured Roy, but I don't think he will be quite as aggressive this time around. If it turns into a boxing match, Tarver should excel, if it turns into a brawl then Johnson could pull off another upset. Both have showed good chins, and both have showed good power. But it's hard to pick against Tarver, but expect Johnson to make it a tough fight. Hopefully if Johnson does lose, it's not by a bad decision which has haunted Johnson many times in the past.
Blaine Hislop: Tarver by KO (probably mid to late rounds). Johnson's a nice guy and a solid pro, but he basically waxed an over-rated bum in RJ Jr.
Joel Eisen: Tarver KO 5. Too quick, too polished.
Vittorio M. Gomez: I see total annihilation of Johnson. He hits canvas within 4 rounds and doesn't get up.
Oscar Soborras: Antonio Tarver should win by decision. Glen Johnson is not in the same league as Tarver, who has been in the ring against better opposition.
Chris Robinson: Some people question Antonio Tarver's work ethic and dislike him as a person while most folks don't have enough nice things to say about Glen Johnson. That's all great but opinions don't do as much damage in the ring as do punches and I can't see Tarver losing this one. Johnson is extremely likeable and one to root for, but I just think Tarver is the better fighter. Tarver by Unanimous Decision.
Robert Hernandez: I'm going with an upset. I feel Johnson is going to outwork Tarver. he will trap him in the ropes and pound the body. he will have rough moments but has a sturdy enough chin to take the Magic Man's punches. I feel that Tarver will be over confident and get out worked by the busy Johnson.
Mark Schaeffer: At 35, these two are really both past their prime. It's do or die time. I just have an odd feeling about this one. I predict Tarver surprises everyone, and wins by a knock-out in the fifth.
James Roberts: I'm selecting Tarver on a decision (8 rounds to 4). Tarver has superior height and mobility for his size. The nod goes to the overall better boxer (not saying that Johnson is a slouch).
Jeff Mayweather: I pick Tarver by decision; a very rugged hard fought decision. I think Johnson will force Tarver to work a lot harder than he has in any of his previous fights. Tarver will have to be at his best, Johnson will keep up the outstanding pressure bringing out the best in Tarver. I feel Tarver will make the necessary adjustments needed to prevail. Tarver by hard fought unanimous decision.
Oleg Bershadsky: This fight's appeal is entirely based on the fact that these two fighters knocked out Roy Jones Jr. and because of this I don't expect it to live up to its expectations. But in any case, I believe that Tarver will outpoint a very focused and determined Johnson on his way to a unanimous decision.
Thomas Cannon: Johnson by decision for the fight on Saturday. Tarver believes his career is legitimized by the fights with RJJ, I tend to disagree. Great fighter, big mouth, usually makes for good entertainment but maybe not necessarily good focus. JOHNSON by MD.
David L. Ross: At this point in his career, Tarver still has the speed to contend with strong punchers, and can also hit with the best of them. Johnson came out like a house of fire against Roy Jones with success, so look for him to keep up the pressure in this fight. But it’s not going to be enough against the crafty southpaw Tarver, who should be able to beat a tired Johnson by unanimous decision. Johnson has the heart to stay in this fight, but not the skill to keep up with Tarver over 12 rounds.
Mike Leanardi: Tarver via Unanimous Decision. He'll win at least 8 rounds probably.
Elisa Harrison: This fight is about redemption between two men who have been terribly overlooked and underrated throughout most of their careers. Oddly enough, fate had it that they both exposed Roy Jones, Jr. Tarver did it twice, the first time the judges robbed him, and Johnson left nothing to the imagination in his demolition of a guy who still thinks of himself as Pound for Pound #1. (Did he have an MRI of the brain after the two vicious knockouts? If Roy keeps referring to himself as P4P, an MRI should be mandatory).
But back to the business at hand, I am looking forward to this match up of two fighters who have given their all and have proven themselves very worthy. They are champions in my book, and I have two wishes: 1) that the judges wear the correct eyewear and 2) may the best man win.
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