Tarver/Cunningham Draw

By José Corpas on August 14, 2015
Tarver/Cunningham Draw
Cunningham didn't make any mistakes but had trouble finding success. (Naoki Fukuda)

For a 46-year-old, it was an excellent night. For a heavyweight with title aspirations, maybe not so much so…

Following weeks of trash talk, Antonio Tarver, 217, and Steve Cunningham, 204, finally got to settle their score tonight in Newark’s Prudential Center. Amid all the venom slinging, Tarver gave us a clue of what to expect. Defense was the key to victory he told us. 

Victory eluded him but his surprisingly still slick defense was good enough for a draw. Never a scintillating fighter and always a ready trash talker, Tarver turned in a George Foreman, 1990s version-like performance that, though lacking excitement, was impressive for a 46-year-old fighting above his weight class.

Ducking while he punched and holding whenever necessary, Tarver stifled most of Cunningham’s attacks while landing enough stiff counters to earn the win on one judge’s card. The scores were 115-113 Cunningham, 115-114 Tarver, and 114-114. 

It was a slow fight with few bursts. The early rounds saw Cunningham throwing jabs and an occasional 1-2. Tarver picked his shots and got a heavy left counter that landed just as Cunningham tripped on Tarver’s foot.

Cunningham picked up the pace the next few rounds with his busier work rate. Tarver continued sneaking in counter shots and appeared to wobble Cunningham slightly in the fourth. 

The chess match continued throughout the middle rounds with Cunningham unable to land with combinations against the clever, economical defensive postures of the former light heavyweight champion. Cunningham was unable to, except for a pair of long rights, get the meaty part of his fist on the subtly slick Tarver. Tarver remained cagey, sliding a pair of rights, shooting a counter, and clinching while old nemesis Roy Jones Jr. watched from the front row. 

Cunningham, 39, didn’t make any mistakes but had trouble finding success. Tarver tried picking up the waltz during the final seconds in an attempt to steal the close rounds, even raising his hands at the end of some rounds. For a 46- year-old, it was an excellent night.  For a heavyweight with title aspirations, maybe not so much so. Still, it was good enough for a draw. In a bout some said would serve as an elimination of old-timers, both survived to fight again.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. J Corpas 10:08am, 08/15/2015

    Irish Frankie- avoiding the clinches might’ve been a better tactic for Cunningham.  A feint maybe before punching, uppercuts on the inside perhaps.  Cunningham is game but has little tricks up his sleeve.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:05am, 08/15/2015

    Here’s a thought….Cunningham is probably the weakest muscled up athlete in sports let alone boxing .He damn near wore himself out with what little he accomplished last night…..someone suggested that he should have worked harder to break free of the clinches…if he did he wouldn’t have lasted the full twelve.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:10am, 08/15/2015

    I can tell that you really enjoyed this one….what I really enjoy is when writers use verbs like “stifled” to describe what a fighter is doing in the ring. Genius!....this one word could describe what Mayweather, Hopkins, and Ward have done for their entire careers inside the ring.

Leave a comment