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Heavyweight Fight: Antonio Tarver vs Steve Cunningham

Heavyweight Fight: Antonio Tarver vs Steve Cunningham

Saturday night, veterans Antonio Tarver (31-6, 22KO's) and Steve Cunningham (28-7, 13KO's) will square off for what could be in  a future shot at the famed Heavyweight strap. Heavyweight fights haven't had much bite in America in recent years, dominated mostly by the European circuit. But this is a bout that could change some of the general interest by the time the final bell sounds. Many remember Antonio Tarver for his incredible performance against the legendary Roy Jones Jr., becoming the first fighter to stop and subsequently defeat the American icon back in 2003.

The resounding impression beyond that point was that this is a talent who comes to win, and when determined, the sky is the limit. Those who have watched him fight since that magical night know that an Antonio Tarver fight isn't an an Antonio Tarver fight without a solid effort and a sheer determination to win in the end. For Steve Cunningham, the results have been more of a mixed bag over the years. Losing 7 of his total 35 fights, including his most recent, many enter the bout wondering how a result could be anything other than a Tarver victory? Cunningham has been very inconsistent with his efforts, some even wondering if his heart is even still in the fight game after key losses.

Odds for boxing always come down to past results, and in the past, Cunningham has certainly left much to be desired. That being said, he has also found a way to earn victories few see him getting, which is what makes this bout interesting. Those who have watched Steve Cunningham boxing, know that all comes down to a gritty, grimy offensive assault with a heart that never says "die"! Heavyweight fights over the past few years haven't always packed a huge punch, but although these two gladiators aren't the size of most super-heavyweights we see today, they'll bang just as hard until the final bell bangs harder!

Boxing betting typically comes down to momentum and future goals. For Cunningham, the road to a title is a much longer one, resulting from 5 losses in his 9 most recent bouts. Because of his will and huge heart in the ring, fight night predictions could stray from the norm, giving him the edge over the veteran Antonio Tarver. One thing about this bout that breaks from the typical American heavyweight fight of this era is the fact that both men are practically 40 and above, leading some fans to view this as Boxing's answer to Golf's "Senior Tour". The legendary Bernard Hopkins continues to look strong only months shy of age 50, so in this new era, older fighters have become a norm.

When the smoke clears and the final bell rings, look for there to be several ebbs and flows throughout the showdown. Cunningham is likely to come on strong early, pressing the action and attempting to force Tarver into mistakes. While Cunningham may score some early points, Tarver is the much more polished fighter, and his experience, as well as a solid edge in power could change things sooner than later for Cunningham. Cunningham won't go away easy, and fans can expect him to stay in Tarver's face from the first bell. But in the end, Tarver will be too much, slowing down the battle-tested Cunningham, and potentially using his southpaw stance to land something nasty to end it all!


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