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Tarver The New King: Judge That
By Jason Petock (May 18, 2004) 
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And so it came to pass that the king had to relinquish his throne and kingdom to a new leader and era. This was witnessed and documented by all in the land and not only came as a surprise, but also a welcome change.

Judge that! That’s what the man said after his triumphant victory over Roy Jones, JR. The man I speak of is one Antonio Tarver, the new and undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. In his devastating upset of Jones not only did he solidify his position as numero uno in the division, but also proved that he can back up everything he has said up to this point and then some. Only such a brilliant Champion like Tarver, yes I said Champion, could have coined the phrase that was heard around the world much like the first shot only louder. “Yeah I got a question, got any excuses this time?” quipped Antonio before the bout when asked by referee Jay Nady if there were any questions from either fighter. Those words reverberated through the room where I was watching the fight with over a half dozen other avid fight fans like jolts of lightning from above. This was a fight. Those very words dictated the outcome of this bout before it even took place. Antonio Tarver was the hungrier fighter this night, as was the case in their first fight, and there was no denying the end result regardless of what Roy attempted to bring to the table.

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Not only was I completely stunned and overjoyed like many of you out there, but also dismayed by the fact that even in defeat Roy Jones’, ego would not let him acknowledge that he was outclassed and bettered by Antonio Tarver this Saturday – May 15 2004. It was an honest victory in every sense, a clean solid knockout by Tarver and it was obvious that Jones could not have continued, at least safely that is. Roy was out before he hit the canvas and it was a good call by Nady to stop the bout when he did. Never have any of us seen such punishment doled out against Roy Jones, JR. in such a short span of time, and if you blinked you probably missed it. I didn’t blink fortunately, but I did have to pick up my jaw from off the carpeted floor of my friends house. It dropped off of its hinges after witnessing history in the making. This is a fight that has been burned into the creases of my mind for the rest of my existence. Yes it is that important.

Various boxing critics and writers barely put any stock in Tarver, what he was capable of, and they hardly expected him to win. I anticipated him to win by decision, but got my Christmas present early complete with all the trimmings and then some. Boxing needed this fight. A changing of the guard needed to take place and those opposed to Tarver’s destiny needed to be silenced once and for all. I think this victory should be sufficient enough to accomplish that request.

Antonio Tarver had the will to win. He was confident, focused and most of all he believed in himself. He believed that he could win and he did. Roy Jones, JR. would have had to kill him to defeat him and that wasn’t going to happen. The smarter, stronger fighter won period. The Champion won and I’m glad he did just that. Antonio even knocked out one of the cameras after the bout in elation and to be honest I think the camera got off a lot easier than Jones did.

So go ahead and “Judge That!” like Antonio Tarver said. Judge it in all its splendor and glory. Deny him if you will, but Tarver found the Kryptonite needed to defeat Superman in one solidly placed punch. He executed his game plan to a tee. Blind luck had nothing to do with it and the better man won on Saturday. Even as hailed and praised as Jones has become over the years it’s time for a new king. Roy has given us boxing fans years of skill and aptitude on parade but a new day has come. As much as I hate to admit it – I must have forgot.

Congratulations to Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver in showing what you’re made of and for recharging this wonderful sport we call boxing. Thank you for showing all of us that there are no limits when you believe in yourself. Kudos Champ. Kudos.
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