Boxing Preview – Steve Cunningham vs Antonio Tarver

Boxing Preview – Steve Cunningham vs Antonio Tarver

Boxing Preview – Steve Cunningham vs Antonio Tarver

The main event in Newark sees a heavyweight contest between two experienced vets who five years ago, you would never have put in the ring together at heavyweight. Steve Cunningham faces off against Antonio Tarver as these former two greats look to re-establish themselves in the professional game one last time, hoping to earn a shot at a world championship.

We are expecting Cunningham to box his way to a decision victory, which is currently priced at evens with Coral. Simply place a £5 bet with Coral and claim a FREE £20 bet. Click here to sign up.

Steve Cunningham turned professional following his stint as a successful Boxer in the Navy during his service between 1994 – 1998. He became a multiple time cruiserweight champion. His daughter was born with a rare heart disease which resulted in the Cunningham family being told just over a year ago that she would not live. Following a heart transplant, she’s now a healthy child. Cunningham fights to provide his daughter the best care she gets today, but also because he still loves the sport and wants to become a World champion at a neglected weight. Cunningham earned a ten round unanimous decision over Amir Mansour in April 2014, he then stopped Natu Visina in the seventh round in October 2014 before most recently losing a decision to Vyacheslav Glazkov in March 2015, taking his record to 28 wins, 13 stoppages and 7 losses.

Cunningham is a physical freak. For his age, he’s so well conditioned, and it looks like he’s always in ring shape with an awesome physique. He goes into this contest with a 7 inch reach advantage which should accommodate his sniping from a distance style very well, planting his jab often to keep the smaller Tarver at bay. Since his move to heavyweight, he’s hit the canvas in multiple bouts, which questions whether he’ll be able to handle Tarver’s big punch potential.

The always entertaining ‘Magic Man’ Antonio Tarver is also motivated for this bout. After being overlooked his whole career, he wanted to make a return in the heavyweights to prove how bad the division was, and to win a world championship, even after being overlooked most of his career. He’s made quite an emphatic start to this campaign by most recently knocking out Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer, Johnathon Banks, in December 2014. Prior to that, Tarver fought to a draw with Lateef Kayode in June 2012 which was later turned to a draw because Tarver was tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He then stopped Mike Sheppard in the fourth round in October 2013. Tarver’s record stands at 31 wins, 22 stoppages and 6 losses.

 

Tarver, as demonstrated by his side-career as a commentator, has one of the best Boxing brains in the game and he is a student of the game. He has displayed this over his career by his crafty in-fighting where he will creep into by jabbing to the chest and sneaking in during his weaves. He has flash punch potential which has seen him finish many opponents. Tarver hasn’t won a formidable contest since 2011, and he’s generally quite inactive, since Cunningham has had four fights at heavyweight in the space of Tarver having one. Tarver has only had two heavyweight fights in total which makes you wonder whether he is fully adjusted to the weight when taking on an established heavyweight.

As mentioned, this is the type of bout no-one could have predicted years ago, but ultimately, it’s a great pleasure that it’s going to happen. It’s really tough to call a fight between a naturally talented fighter and an experienced fighter who continually puts in the hard work, even though both are past their primes. Even with both of these Boxers being over-the-hill, they still have the talent and credentials to put on a great contest. With that being said, you have to consider Tarver’s last five years in the game being somewhat uninspiring. He’s not had the tough fights at Heavyweight that Cunningham has had, and nor has he had the necessary adjustment to take on a fringe contender fight. At the weigh-in, he was seven pounds lighter than his last fight, but looked incredibly chubby and quite flabby, which was quite undermining standing against Cunningham who looked better than most top-level professionals in their twenties these days. I think unless Tarver can find that big punch which is sure to shock Cunningham, I like Cunningham to benefit from the distinct reach advantage and produce a high punch-output to win a close, but deserved decision. In the end, the fans win from this fight. Cunningham by decision.

Dan Glozier.

 

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