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Opinion: Why Tarver’s KO 2 of Jones Changed Boxing

scoopLNProfessional boxing was significantly altered in 2004 when Antonio Tarver knocked out Roy Jones with one punch in the second round of their world light heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas. It was the last time a protected establishment star has been unexpectedly thrashed by a brutal KO. Since then the American stars have been carefully protected and they have the power and backing via the establishment to avoid getting entangled into any dangerous fight that they do not like (or fear would be a risk to his “self preservation”). Having covered this period of boxing it was quite clear that Jones always knew Tarver was a terrible danger and made repeated steps to avoid fighting Tarver the first time (which Jones won by close decision) and also the rematch. However heavy political and media pressure (and personal pride) eventually coerced the ‘reluctant Roy’ who ultimately caved in and did grant Tarver the what proved-to-be fatal rematch. Everybody remembers the historic and dramatic one-punch knockout win by Tarver – including the next generation boxers  who succeeded Tarver and Jones as top-flight stars. Fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez  (and of course their managers and advisors) learned the hard lesson that if they want to extend the longevity and revenue streams that their fighters generate they must identify and avoid the lurking “Antonio Tarvers” by any and all means necessary. Floyd and his protector Al Haymon have done an expert job of identifying Floyd’s “Tarvers” and they have avoided getting ensnared into fights that would potentially be bad for their business. Now Canelo Alvarez is also being steered clear of a fight with Gennady Golovkin by any and all means necessary. No matter what lies explanations and excuses they need to use they will indeed use to duck Golovkin and continue on their merry way of making millions off of handpicked set-ups. Make no mistake about it: the devastating impact of Antonio Tarver’s unforgettable one punch knockout of Roy Jones has altered the nature of boxing as an unpredictable sport into a business where protection of top stars is the higher priority than of giving the fans the super fights they want most of all. — Scoop Malinowski

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