A month shy of his 42nd birthday, former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver decided to take a risk. Moving up to heavyweight for the first time since portraying Mason "The Line" Dixon in Rocky Balboa, a 221-pound Tarver outpointed Nagy Aguilera for a 10-round unanimous decision in Oklahoma. All three judges' scorecards were 98-92 for the veteran, and Bad Left Hook scored it a closer 96-94 for Tarver.
Tarver (28-6, 19 KO) hadn't fought since May 2009, and it showed early on as he did almost nothing. Tarver also suffered some kind of left shoulder injury, saying he felt like he pulled something out in his post-fight interview. Tarver was sluggish in the beginning, but came alive a bit more in the middle rounds. He was helped by Aguilera (16-5, 11 KO), who ran around the ring and didn't offer much offensively. The 24-year-old New Yorker has proven that his win over Oleg Maskaev was both a fluke and a result of Maskaev being old and shot.
Tarver played extremely confident in his post-fight interview, as he always has, but the truth is he just didn't hurt Aguilera at all. He clearly does not have legitimate heavyweight power, and he was able to outbox Aguilera and land good, clean, hard shots fairly often.
You can be nice and not write Tarver the Heavyweight off just yet, but I think you might as well. What's he going to do in the division? He cannot beat the Klitschkos. He cannot beat David Haye, because Haye is tall, fast, strong, powerful and in his prime. He could fight one of them, and he just might, but he can't beat them. How will he handle a heavyweight who can and, unlike Aguilera, will punch?
Expect Tarver to take a couple of more smaller fights before looking for a step up. The debut wasn't good, and given his age, it's unlikely he's going to get much better.
In the co-feature, Shawn Porter stopped rugged veteran Hector Munoz in nine rounds. The stoppage seemed odd in terms of timing, but Munoz was bloodied and taking a lot of punishment in the bout. As a welterweight, the 22-year-old Porter (17-0, 13 KO) looked fit, strong and quick. He could be a contender as soon as next year.