Bob Arum and Antonio Tarver have found a replacement opponent for their December 1 headlining fight on Showtime, signing a deal with Danny Santiago to replace Danny Green.
Arum remarked, rightly, that it's not easy to find a guy who's training and willing to fight on about a month's notice, but who the hell got the Tarver camp into this position? Hey, guess what, it was the Tarver camp, dragging out negotiations and never actually signing a contract with Green. I was disappointed when Green decided to tell Tarver to go piss up a rope, instead taking a fight with Stipe Drews, but I also thought he was entirely right to do so.
One thing I was disappointed about was that I thought Danny Green had a good shot at beating Tarver. Green is a good fighter. Santiago (29-3-1, 19 KO) is a 34-year old who hasn't fought much in the way of good competition, though he did knock out Elvir Muriqi -- the same Muriqi that gave a rusty, over-the-hill Tarver fits in June.
In his last fight, Santiago was dominated by Zsolt Erdei in Germany. Tarver hasn't looked good in two years, since his second win over Roy Jones, Jr. He's also only fought twice since then, having his ass handed to him by a world-class but undersized Bernard Hopkins and then struggling like hell against a guy who's a step up from a club fighter.
Personally, I hope Tarver looks past Danny Santiago and gets dropped. This is the second Showtime card this year that he's headlined with a crap opponent. I don't mean that as disrespect to Muriqi and Santiago, really, but they are what they are, and if Showtime is going to go around calling themselves America's No. 1 boxing network (what fuckin' fuzzy math are they using for that statement, anyway?), then garbage cards like Tarver's shouldn't be, essentially, their marketing centerpiece.
To be fair to Tarver, though, it's not like Showtime has helped their own cause with these cards, putting together yawn-inducing undercard fights like Forrest-Piccirillo and Dawson-Ruiz.
As for getting a Tarver-Dawson fight, don't hold your breath. If you ask me, that whole situation reeks of Tarver wanting nothing to do with the younger, stronger Chad Dawson. Rumors are that talks have already begun for another Tarver and Dawson card next year, with Dawson facing Glen Johnson (an interesting bout) and Tarver facing the winner of Lacy-Manfredo, which by all rights should be Lacy. Tarver-Lacy could, in theory, serve as a rebirth of Jeff Lacy, who is still struggling to shake the Calzaghe fight that massacred his reputation.