There's a great piece in USA Today about tomorrow night's Dawson-Tarver rematch that actually makes me sort of, kind of actually want to see this fight now. Juuuuust a little bit.
Some choice stuff:
"Nothing's really changed. It's another fight. Even though he has a rematch clause in the contract, I feel like he doesn't deserve a rematch," Dawson (27-0, 17 KOs) says.
"I can't stand him," Dawson says. "You watch the Rocky movie and you say it's just a movie. Then you meet him and you realize he's like that in real life. That's scary for a person to even act like that. I have no respect for him."
"He didn't want to get hit," says Dawson, who is an inch taller at 6-3. "Antonio Tarver is a very ignorant person. I really want to hurt him. I want to punish him.
"I know there's nothing that Tarver can do to stop me. If he comes into this fight thinking he's going to open up and throw more punches he's going to play right into my game plan."
Tarver's defense of his performance the first time is that he stayed back too long and didn't hit Dawson when he should have. Great call, Antonio. You sure nailed that one. He also notes how many of Dawson's punches he blocked, but that "to [Dawson's] credit," Dawson "looked busier."
He "looked" busier? He hit Tarver with good, clean shots way more than Tarver hit him with the same -- though Dawson did outland Tarver by a mere ten total punches, and was out-thrown by over 100. Tarver could find nothing to hit, speaking to his slowing hands.
You know, at the end of the day, I'm a fan, and Tarver's delusional antics have never been something I've warned to. Dawson is normally pretty mild-mannered for a dude nicknamed "Bad Chad," and he's saying here in frank terms that he "can't stand" Tarver, that Tarver is "ignorant," and that he "really want[s] to hurt him."
Tarver might be the rare case of a guy in boxing -- or any sport -- who is just as egotistical as he appears to be. Tarver has had genuine bad blood with Dawson, Roy Jones and even Jeff Lacy, who he never fought, and surely that's just scraping the tip of the iceberg.
Aw, but hang on a minute. USA Today did another piece yesterday focusing on Tarver, and he comes off -- dare I say it -- nice (at least for most of it):
Tarver reunited with former trainer Buddy McGirt, and has been working with McGirt and regular trainer Jimmy Williams in Vero Beach, Fla., where he says he was able to get away from all the distractions that affected him in the first fight.
"Buddy is a great trainer," says Tarver. "We've had a lot of success together, and I think along with Jimmy Williams, two great minds are better than one. Where Jimmy is weak at, as a trainer, Buddy has strengths. And vice versa. They complement each other.
"And just to be able to have two guys in that corner that I love, and believe in and trust in, I think it just helps me. I know Buddy's going to be cool and calm under pressure and that's what I need between those rounds."
Well maybe he's just a cuddly old guy...
Note: The official picks thread for this fight is a few posts down, located here if you don't want to scroll.