The PBC returns to Spike TV to showcase an interesting battle of two aging heavyweight contenders in Antonio Tarver and Steve Cunningham who will slug it out in a 12-round feature on August 14th, 2015 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Beating Rocky

Known in the movie circles as Mason Dixon, the man who beat Rocky Balboa in the last installment of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky series, Antonio Tarver isn’t just for reel. The Florida native is a former unified light-heavyweight champion who is known for winning his trilogy with the great Roy Jones Jr. Tarver won the 175-pound title three times before moving up to heavyweight where he has proven to have a solid chin. Tarver hasn’t gone down in the five bouts that he’s fought over 175 pounds.

His opponent is the inspiring Steve Cunningham, the former US Navy serviceman who is known in boxing circles as USS Cunningham for his stints at the aircraft carriers USS Kennedy and USS Enterprise. Cunningham was the 2014 Comeback Fighter of the Year by Sports Illustrated after dealing Amir Mansour his first career defeat. Cunningham came back from two knockdowns to win that fight. Outside the ring, Cunningham’s daughter Kennedy also scored a major victory when she completed a successful heart operation. Kennedy was born with a heart defect which doctors previously said was not curable. But the Cunninghams fought on and won. Now it’s the time for the former Cruiserweight champion to win inside the ring and pursue his heavyweight dreams.

The fight is interesting because both boxers are no longer spring chickens. Cunningham is 39 and Tarver is seven years his senior. But Tarver believes that he is destined to be heavyweight world champion. He’s eyeing Deontay Wilder or even Wladimir Klitschko after this bout. But he can’t take lightly the challenge of Steve Cunningham, who is also a former world champion and has a very good motive to beat him.

Who Takes This?

The lines are close in this fight with Cunningham the bettors’ slight favorite at -185 and the older Tarver a +150 underdog. At 46, Antonio Tarver no longer has the speed, stamina and reflexes that made him boxing’s “Magic Man”. But the old man has power in both hands. Tarver likes to work with his jab and set up his heavy combinations. He still has the smarts and boxing IQ to control his opponents and set them up for the kill. On the other hand, Cunningham has been dropped in three of his last four bouts. If he becomes a standing target for Tarver, he may be getting knocked out.

However, if Cunningham maximizes his 7-inch reach advantage and use his “younger” legs to move Tarver around the ring, he’s got a big shot at winning this fight. The key is to avoid Tarver’s power blows. Both boxers haven’t had much ring action in recent years, with Tarver tallying just a total of 31 rounds in the last four years and Cunningham just 84 rounds over that same period. Ring rust will be a factor but with their comebacks on the line, expect an explosive fight from these two senior citizens. Experts are picking Cunningham to win by decision.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *