Hopkins vs. Tarver Redux

By Robert Ecksel on January 25, 2012
Hopkins vs. Tarver Redux
Bernard Hopkins selectively chose his spots before stepping back to admire his handwork

I don’t know who won the round or won the fight, or even if there was a round or fight to win…

Those who have been eagerly waiting for Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver to fight again need not wait any longer.

They first fought on June 10, 2006, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for Tarver’s IBO light heavyweight title. As things turned out, it wasn’t Tarver’s night, as the lopsided 118-109 decision on all three judges’ scorecards indicated.

Many have forgotten that fight and night, as many have forgotten many fights and many nights. But neither Hopkins nor Tarver is among them. Both men, like many men (and like a few women as well), self-mythologize, and both men remember their losses as well as their wins. It may not seem like yesterday to you and me, but it seems like yesterday to Hopkins and Tarver.

Yesterday afternoon, the newly restored WBC light heavyweight champion and the current IBO cruiserweight champion took to the verbal arena known as Twitter, aka Land of the One-Liners, to hash out their differences in a public forum.

Their war of words wasn’t engaging or satisfying, but it was unsightly, and grew out of control to such an extent that ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, who in effect started it all by giving Hopkins a platform to crow, eventually resorted to peacemaking, instead of rabblerousing, by quoting those immortal words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

It started before noon and went on into the night. Tarver overreacted by lobbing the first tweet (with a little judicious editing and spell-check below).

“I read a bit of the interview,” Tarver tweeted, “and as always he’s delusional about my accomplishments. I’ve given and shown Bernard all the credit and respect from a fighter’s standpoint, but as a person I question why he continues to bring my name up in conversation. He says I’m envious and jealous of him, and anyone who’s ever met or knows me knows that’s impossible because there’s never been a jealous bone in my body. I’m too busy loving me.

“About our fight, he shouldn’t get the credit he gets. I took a long layoff, lost 53 lbs. in two months, and I still believe it’s a good chance I was poisoned and I may never get the chance to prove it. So I’ll charge that to the game.”

Tarver had bulked up to portray a heavyweight in one of the Rocky movies, and had to drop a lot of weight in a short period of time in order to fight Hopkins. He may have been weakened by the weight loss. He wouldn’t be the first fighter that has happened to. The bit about having his been poisoned is news to me. But he wouldn’t be the first fighter who has leveled that accusation either.

“The rematch was made years ago,” Tarver continued, “but I knew he would never fight me again. But unlike Roy Jones Jr. after our fight he never became champion again. I have twice. I lost to one person since Hopkins, the same man that would have surely beat his ass. Why would I want to fight a man that can’t draw flies to a picnic, the worse PPV in boxing history? At 47 B-Hop is still breaking records. Do your little interviews. Leave my name out of your mouth. I’m the Cruiserweight Champ. Until you get your weight up shut the fuck up. You claim you’re the Champ. Fight Dawson to regain your credibility and prove you’re the legend you say you is…”

Tarver was perhaps getting to the nub of the issue. But he was tweeting with such abandon, that it was hard, if not impossible, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“Money shouldn’t be the issue. You got paid in advance the first time. Our business is done. Handle yours. I’m handling mine!!! I get nothing out of beating a 47-year-old ancient fighter when I’m KO’ing young champions.

“B-Hop, name the last fighter you KO’d and how long ago that was… Oh, was it your business partner De La Hoya 10 years ago?

“He wants to call out my name every time. He wants people to remember he beat me. He’s lived good off that one win.”

Tarver tweeted about his big KO over Roy Jones Jr. in his prime. He also tweeted about Hopkins having earned enough money to have his teeth fixed, which is of utmost interest to us all.

“The only name he needs to be calling out is Chad Dawson!!! I’m not calling him out. I’m addressing the BS he said in an earlier interview. I got bigger fish to fry!!”

That Hopkins was able to get under Tarver’s skin so effectively, that he was able to get Tarver to overreact as he did, must have pleased Bernard no end. I can imagine him with his iPhone in his palm, staring at the tiny screen with a wicked little grin on his face, as Tarver had in effect lost it by taking the bait and tweeting up an imperfect storm.

Hopkins is known for many things, but being a man of few words isn’t among them. But this time, this once, he kept it short, sweet, and to the point. Bernard tweets as he now fights, selectively choosing his spots before stepping back to admire his handwork.

“Here we go again,” Hopkins tweeted. “Stop making excuses. You are a pro. You signed the contract. I whooped your ass. You are full of shit. You got poisoned from me beating you up. You fought Chad in Vegas, at the Hard Rock, a 1200 seat arena and y’all sold 100 tickets. You are nothing to me. Don’t worry about my bread or teeth!! I’m comfortable with my life. Go to bed. You have to get up in the morning for work.”

I don’t know who won the round or won the fight, or even if there was a round or fight to win. Twitter wars have a character all their own, and the rules, such as they are, must make the Marquis of Queensberry spin in his grave.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver - 1/4



Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver - 2/4



Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver - 3/4



Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver - 4/4



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  1. "Old Yank" Schneider 01:05pm, 01/25/2012

    Mike—My next challenge is painting the channel markers on the inlet leading to my dock—I assure you that I won’t let any white bouy beat me!

  2. mikecasey 12:46pm, 01/25/2012

    Thanks, Yank. Another return match, this one - the fence won last time.

  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:07am, 01/25/2012

    Mike—I’d much rather pony up for a PPV of your fence-painting then ever drop a dime on another Hopkins event!

  4. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:06am, 01/25/2012

    There is a reason why Twitter begins with “twit”!

  5. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:05am, 01/25/2012

    Twitter: Ebonics for the literate.

  6. mikecasey 09:28am, 01/25/2012

    Thanks, Pete, you’re an ace!

  7. Pete The Sneak 08:06am, 01/25/2012

    mikecasey, under three conditions will I pay to see you paint your fence. One being I have to know whether you paint with the brush starting from top to bottom, or bottom to top. Second is if for sure I know that B-Hop is fighting that day. Third is if we can sit and watch it dry afterwards. $49.99 you say? Okay, I’m there….@ Irish Frankie…unfortunately you are absolutely correct as to these guys (May/B-Hop) knowing that most people do pay to hopefully see somone beat their asses. Peace.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 07:59am, 01/25/2012

    While we’re on the subject…..God bless you Joe Calzaghe and thanks for the memories!

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 07:48am, 01/25/2012

    Pete the Sneak- You got that right….mind numbing, double ugly, and definitely not worth the price of admission. He has no shame, in fact he revels in the fact that he has punked those that pay hard earned cash to witness farces like his scam exit against Dawson. Give him and Mayweather their due though, they both are keenly aware that the vast majority of those that pay to see their bouts, do so for one reason and one reason only….they want to see them beaten soundly….period!

  10. mikecasey 07:31am, 01/25/2012

    I’m painting my garden fence tomorrow. I hereby invite a massive crowd to pay good money to watch me do it.

  11. Pete The Sneak 06:59am, 01/25/2012

    If only B-Hop’s fights were as exciting as his tweets, then I may actually sit and watch one. Please dude, just go away.. No one wants to see your boring ass, neck clutching, head holding, back climbing fights. Tarver is right. Go call out Dawson and settle your BS fight with him. Peace.

  12. the thresher 05:35am, 01/25/2012

    “You said Antonio Tarver, who’s a bitter man, who I easily beat after being a six-to-one underdog and he lost a quarter million that day when he didn’t knock me out in four rounds. So he has a reason to be envious and biased towards me, but if you see me when I did that first Jean Pascal fight with Showtime, he wants to take pictures and hug at the media sit-down roundtable. ... [W]ith Antonio Tarver, it’s envy and jealousy. I’m still fighting. He’s known more for the Rocky movies than anything else, because the Roy Jones fight with the one punch—he was a one punch wonder! What did he do since then? Nothing! Think about it. No, don’t give me that crap about that guy down there in Australia! The Green Machine! Come on! That’s a joke. Are you kidding me? So let them guys do what they got to do. I guess he needs a buck. He wants me to fight him. He wants a rematch.”

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