42-year-old Antonio Tarver was absolutely dominant today in Australia, battering Danny Green and stopping him after nine rounds when the corner pulled Green out of the fight. The ninth round had ended with a massive flurry from Tarver, with Green reeling badly and basically out on his feet.
Tarver (29-6, 20 KO) looked fresh and strong at cruiserweight, where he was fighting officially for the first time. The former two-time light heavyweight world champion had taken a pass at the heavyweight division last year, where he was clearly too heavy to fight well, but it looks like the 200-pound limit suits him just fine physically. He was quicker, stronger, and better than Green (31-4, 27 KO), whose brief run of notoriety as a perceived top cruiserweight comes to a rather crashing end with this defeat.
Tarver won the first six rounds of the fight with relative ease, until Green made a charge in the seventh round and hurt Tarver with some good body work. After the seventh round, Tarver looked a little tired in his corner, but got back to business in the eighth and took control of the fight back. When he found an opening in the ninth round, he made it count, and wailed on Green to break the home fighter's will and force him out of the contest.
Does this make Antonio Tarver a true top cruiserweight? That's hard to say. It does make him a top 10 cruiserweight, but Green's wins in the division of Roy Jones Jr, Manny Siaca and Paul Briggs were iffy at best and downright lousy at worst. He did get a legit win over BJ Flores last year, but Tarver just plain took him to school. The difference in class between the two fighters was as evident as it was surprising.
This is Tarver's best win in years, and his best performance since at least the Clinton Woods bout in 2008. I'd even say it was his best performance since 2005, when he defeated Glen Johnson. Tarver was full of confidence today, and Green just couldn't do anything about it. Green, 38, was out of his depth, and the fight played out as a mismatch in Tarver's favor. In all but the seventh round, Green simply had no answer for the American.
The win nets Tarver the IBO cruiserweight title, which is not among the "big four" that are recognized by most, but will allow him to say he's a two-division champion. And for those who watched this fight outside of Australia: You get a gold star, because I think we all watched this on a stream that was simply a webcam pointed at a television.