Las Vegas Sun

March 20, 2019

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Second time is Tarver’s charm

Boxer has had success in rematches, but Dawson is a heavy favorite


Steve Marcus

Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver shadow boxes during a workout Wednesday. He will fight champion Chad Dawson tonight at The Joint at the Hard Rock.

Tarver-Dawson News Conference

IBF light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, left, and former champion Antonio Tarver pose during a news conference at the Hard Rock hotel Thursday, May 7, 2009. Dawson will attempt to retain the title that he took from Tarver when the boxers meet for a rematch at the Hard Rock on Saturday.  Launch slideshow »

1. One more time

After Chad Dawson won a clear 12-round unanimous decision against Antonio Tarver in October at the Palms (the judges had it 118-109 and 117-110 twice), some boxing observers were surprised Tarver opted to exercise his rematch clause, ultimately resulting in tonight’s bout. Dawson wasn’t. “I expected it,” he said. “Every fight he lost but one, he always came back for a rematch.” Tarver said there was never any doubt in his mind he would call for a rematch. “I knew it right away,” he said. “Immediately. I know how to fight with urgency, and that’s what is going to make the difference this fight.”

2. Avenging Antonio

Tarver, a three-time light heavyweight champion who in 2004 became the first man to knock out Roy Jones Jr., came back to avenge losses in rematches with Jones, Eric Harding and Glen Johnson. “Whenever I’ve had to go back to the drawing board and correct my mistakes, I’ve been successful,” Tarver said. “When I look at the first fight, I don’t see where they think it was some dominant performance by Chad. A lot of those rounds I didn’t get, I don’t expect to get them this time around either. I know I have to go in there and put hands on Chad, and if I don’t knock him out, then I have to make him quit.”

3. Going out on top?

Dawson, 26, hopes to send 40-year-old Tarver into retirement.

He’s also planning an early retirement from the ring for himself. If he can secure a series of marquee title fights in the next several years, Dawson said, he would be content to leave the sport to pursue other business interests and spend time with his wife, Crystal, and sons Prince Chadwick, Sir Chancelor and Royal Tiger.

“I want to be retired by the time I’m 30 years old,” Dawson, of New Haven, Conn., said. “I want to be retired, undefeated, and able to live a comfortable life with my wife and kids. It’s really not all about boxing. I enjoy boxing, but I enjoy my family more.”

4. Headin’ for another Joint

Tonight’s card is the first boxing event at the new Joint at the Hard Rock after the $60 million facility opened last month with concerts by the Killers, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi and Kenny Chesney. For boxing, the Joint will be configured to seat 2,900 fans with the most distant seats only 120 feet from the ring. Part of a $750 million renovation project at the Hard Rock, the 81,875-square-foot Joint can hold up to 4,000 for general-admission events in its three levels: general admission/seated floor; VIP suites; and stadium-style balcony seating.

5. Betting talk

In their first fight, Dawson entered the ring as a minus 260 betting favorite (risk $2.60 to net $1) against Tarver. The round proposition suggested the fight would go the distance, with an over/under of 11 1/2 rounds and a premium of minus 240 on the “will go,” or over, which made sense considering Dawson has never lost as a pro and Tarver’s defeats all have come by decision. Dawson is heavily favored to win the rematch as a favorite of minus 800, with the price on Tarver, the underdog, plus 550. The round prop is over/under 9 1/2, minus 400 on the over. Odds vary by casino property and are subject to change.

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