Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003 | 9:22 a.m.
Dean Juipe's column appears Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. His boxing notebook appears Thursday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 259-4084.
Apparently tired of hearing Antonio Tarver call him out, Roy Jones Jr. has taken up the challenge and will fight the light heavyweight champion Nov. 8 at Mandalay Bay.
But as Tarver discovered at the press conference to formally announce the fight, Jones is coming with a purpose.
"I kick a-- for a living," Jones said. "You see, I always -- always -- keep my word and I'm telling you that you are going to get an a-- whipping.
"Me knowing what it takes, I always welcome any challenge that comes my way. Honestly, that's the only reason I'm taking my time out to fight this boy."
Jones is the reigning World Boxing Association heavyweight champion, although he may be stripped of that title for failing to defend. He's 48-1 and regarded by many as the finest fighter in the world.
Tarver, 21-1, recently won the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation light heavyweight titles, and those will be on the line when he faces Jones at 175 pounds.
"I don't care about the titles," Jones said. "I've got a pile of them at home. That ain't my thing."
Jones is peeved with Tarver because an earlier proposed fight between the two fell apart when Tarver lost an interim fight, and also because Tarver made a scene at the press conference following Jones' victory against John Ruiz in March.
"I'll kick his a-- and they can keep the belts," Jones said. "That's not why we're fighting. It has nothing to do with the belts and they can donate my money to charity.
"His a-- is toast."
Jones, 34, doesn't apologize for his language or his tone of voice.
"My attitude is going to be nasty, all the time," he said. "I ain't nice no more. I'm not playing, I'm not playing at all."
A 7-1 betting favorite, Jones is giving no indication of his future plans beyond the fact he'll give Tarver a beating.
"This is the Roy Jones show," he said. "And it ain't over. So don't let nobody fool you and tell you no bull.
"God blessed me with something I never expected to get, a shot at the heavyweight title. Then he blessed me more and I won it.
"Now here's a guy who really believes he has a chance. And trust me, I really believe that he thinks he has a chance. I've seen people like that before; hell, Stevie Wonder thinks that one day he is going to be able to see.
"I don't know if that's going to happen, but you're supposed to believe."
Tarver believes in himself, but not necessarily in Jones.
"It's been a struggle but I've fought my way through every obstacle," he said. "I had to beat everyone that stepped in front of me.
"Now I want more. I deserve more. I'm telling you that Roy Jones is in for the fight of his life and I think he knows that.
"I guess I'm here as the last nonbeliever (in Jones). He's a great champion (but) this is all about my rightful spot in boxing history."
Also scheduled: Jairo Ramirez, 13-1, vs. Corey Alarcon, 7-4, eight rounds, lightweights; Juan Carlos Santiago, 6-2, vs. Leopaldo Gonzalez, 6-0, six rounds, super bantamweights; Michael Lozada, 8-0, vs. Jorge Valenzuela, 6-4-1, six rounds, junior lightweights; Eddie Salas, 7-2, vs. Bernard Schultz, 1-1, four rounds, middleweights; and George Walton, 11-2, vs. an opponent yet to be determined, six rounds, middleweights. First bell is 7 p.m.
Local heavyweight David Tua will face Hasim Rahman for a third time when they meet Dec. 13 as part of a big card in Atlantic City, but The Tuaman will do it without Kevin Barry in his corner. "David's career has been my passion and has dominated my life for the past 12 years, to the extent that I recently came to believe that I was more motivated to win, succeed and become the world champion than was David," Barry said in a statement in which he acknowledged a rift between the two. He has stepped aside as trainer but will continue as manager, as per their contractual agreement. ... Ricardo Mayorga vs. Cory Spinks, and Bernard Hopkins vs. William Joppy round out that Atlantic City card.
Kirk Johnson, 34-1-1, is in as Vitali Klitschko's opponent Dec. 6 at a site yet to be determined. ... Johnny Tapia, 52-3-2, returns to the ring Friday in Albuquerque when he faces Carlos Contreras. It's the first fight for Tapia since moving back to Albuquerque from Las Vegas and his first since being in a 36-hour drug induced coma here in January. "It wasn't my time to die," Tapia said of his hospital stay. He's 36 years old and being trained by Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. ... Local junior middleweight Rhoshii Wells lost his first pro fight and dipped to 17-1-2 after being stopped in the 10th round by Alex Terra Garcia, 22-0, last Saturday in Uncasville, Conn., on the Chris Byrd vs. Fres Oquendo card.