Antonio Tarver's crazy dream of heavyweight championship glory took a step forward tonight in California, as the 46-year-old former light heavyweight king knocked out Johnathon Banks in the seventh round to go to 3-0 in the heavyweight division.
Tarver (31-6, 22 KO) was hurting Banks (29-3-1, 19 KO) with his left hand when he saw openings to throw it, staggering Banks a couple of times early in the fight. But it was a snail's pace, mostly due to Banks not throwing much at all, while Tarver was hoping to pick him off with counter shots when he did open up.
Tarver landed a clean shot in the seventh round, which led to a flurry that put Banks on the canvas. Though the 32-year-old Banks got up off the mat, he was pretty quickly stopped after that, as the "Magic Man" poured on the pressure and went for the finish.
Banks, who trains Wladimir Klitschko, has looked indifferent in both of his last two fights, and may want to consider hanging up his gloves to focus on his more lucrative job.
Austin Trout (28-2, 15 KO) had an easy night against Luis Grajeda (18-4-2, 14 KO), who quit after the seventh round of a one-sided fight. Trout, 29, won every round, and scored just his second stoppage win since 2009. His last had come in 2011, when he was against a hopelessly overmatched Frank LoPorto. This is the second straight mid-tier (at best) win for Trout, rebounding from a pair of losses to Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara in 2013.
In a fairly ludicrous decision, Oscar Escandon (24-1, 16 KO) defeated Tyson Cave (24-3, 8 KO) in a 12-round interim WBA super bantamweight title fight, winning on split decision scores of 115-113, 117-111, and 113-115. BLH had it 118-110 for Cave, a 33-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia, whose style certainly wasn't pleasing, but resulted in him outboxing Escandon pretty handily for the majority of the rounds.
Terrell Gausha improved to 13-0 (7 KO) with a final round stoppage of a game Cesar Vila (7-2, 3 KO), with referee Jack Reiss stopping the bout at 2:30 of the eighth round. Gausha, 27, didn't start the night great, losing the first round on our scorecard, but did come on strong as the fight wore on, and was easily the more accurate and powerful puncher. Vila, 28, gave a great effort in an uphill battle, but was definitely losing on the scorecards when the fight was stopped. His corner protested, but Reiss would have none of it. In reality, it didn't matter much, but the hook was probably a little quick, even though the knockdown was very pretty, coming off of a four-punch combo.