Though Antonio Tarver has spoken recently about wanting to go up to heavyweight to challenge Vitali Klitshcko, friend and co-trainer Buddy McGirt tells Steve Kim that he believes Tarver should stay at cruiserweight. Tarver recently routed Danny Green in Australia to capture the lightly-regarded IBO belt, recharging the batteries on a career that seemed out of juice.
Here's what McGirt has to say about Tarver's fighting weight:
"I told him from day one, when he said, 'Buddy, I'm going to heavyweight.' I said, 'Antonio, I love you but you're not a heavyweight, dog. 190-200, that's you,' because like when he used to come to camp, for instance when he fought Montell Griffin, he was boxing with Sherman Williams- now Sherman's a natural heavyweight. Antonio was in the 190s when we started training and he was handling Sherman very well. I'm like, 'You're a cruiserweight, dog, once you get through with the light heavyweights.'"
Tarver (29-6, 20 KO) experimented at heavyweight last year against Nagy Aguilera and though he won easily, he did so purely on the fact that Tarver has lost 30% more boxing talent than Aguilera has ever had. It was written off as a failed experiment, though not disastrous since he won, and Tarver looked south to cruiserweight. He looked better, stronger, and faster than he has in years, and while many won't consider him a favorite against the true top cruiserweights out there, the odds are definitely better for him there than against Vitali Klitschko, who would likely make mincemeat of the "Magic Man" simply because Antonio is not, as Buddy says and we have seen, a legitimate heavyweight, and it's going to take a legitimate heavyweight to beat Vitali Klitschko.