Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Guidry And Tarver Pick Up Wins Across Florida


On Saturday, January 21st a stretch of Boxing cards spanning four events in a five day period continued. Following an exciting eleven bout card promoted by Undisputed Promotions in Kissimmee, FL on January 20th, night two of Florida Boxing showcased two Boxing events taking place on both the east and west coast of the state. First, in Miami at Casino Miami, rising Heavyweight contender Jonathan Guidry squared off against former WBC Heavyweight world champion Bernane Stiverne in a bout scheduled for ten rounds.


In previewing this fight, this observer stated that this appeared to be an encounter between two fighters moving in different directions in their respective careers. Guidry being the fighter on the rise, Stiverne having not won a fight in nearly eight years, who has also dealt with lengthy periods of inactivity as well. While seemingly every fight in the Heavyweight division currently between contenders of any description has the sub-plot of whether the fighters involved can provide a strong argument for themselves as for trying to move themselves into position to challenge for a world championship, this fight was one where no argument could be made for either fighter.


For ten rounds, the two fighters, who fought in the main event of a card presented by Hall of Fame promoter Don King’s Don King Productions, engaged in a fight where neither fighter seemed to take the initiative. Whether it was due to a respect between the two fighters or a bad clash of styles, Guidry and Stiverne’s bout may be described as a brisk sparring session as opposed to a competitive fight if one did not know better based on the pace the fight was fought as well as the lack of action throughout. At the conclusion of the ten round bout, it was Guidry who would have his hand raised in victory by a wide unanimous decision based largely on the fact that he was the more active of the two fighters throughout.


With the victory, Guidry retained his North American Boxing Association (NABA) Heavyweight title and should maintain his standing in terms of the world rankings as a fighter on the rise. Although he did what he needed to do and scored a victory over a notable opponent, Guidry may have been able to get a stoppage in this fight had he been more aggressive. It is true that every fighter can have a bad night at the office, but for a fighter in his position that is trying to move his way into world championship contention, Guidry will need to do a little more to force himself into the discussion of potential world title challengers. As for Bernane Stiverne, after losing five of his last six fights over nearly eight years, it may be time for him to think about retirement.


This now brings us to the second main event that took place on January 21st as we move to the west coast of Florida where undefeated Jr. Middleweight Antonio Tarver Jr. headlined a Boxing card at Calta’s Fitness and Boxing in Tampa. The son of former two-division world champion Antonio Tarver headlined a card promoted by his father’s Tarver Promotions by facing fellow undefeated Drew Dwelly in a scheduled ten round bout. Whenever I have the opportunity to cover the offspring of a fighter that I have watched and in this case had covered in years past, I tend to look for similarities in terms of style between the parent and the new generation of fighter.


In this case, this was the first time I had the opportunity to see Antonio Tarver Jr. in action, so I was keenly interested in what I would see in this fight. It should also be noted that when it comes to the children of great fighters as Antonio Tarver was, it is not uncommon to see them matched against opposition that some might call soft or questionable, at least in the very early stages of their careers. This would not be the case for Antonio Tarver's eleventh professional fight as Drew Dwelly was also unbeaten and proved to provide him with a decent test in a fight that was for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF Jr. Middleweight championship.


Dwelly did this by applying pressure on Tarver early in the fight and trying to both cut the ring off and force him to go toe to toe with him. While this strategy had mixed results for Dwelly, this seemed as though it would be crucial in terms of Tarver’s development as a fighter.


As far as the similarities between Tarver Sr. and Tarver Jr. in terms of style, Tarver Sr. was a fighter that dominated most of his fights by his ability to double and triple jab his opponents, mixing in the rest of his offense, which were often highlighted by hooks to the head, and moving laterally to keep an opponent from being able to close the gap. While Tarver Jr. did show some characteristics of his father’s style, what I observed was more of a style based on counter punching and being able to catch his opponent in between punches while in the midst of exchanges. While this was slightly different both in terms of style as well as general approach in comparison to his father, Tarver Jr. did show glimpses of hand speed and punching power that was quite similar to Tarver Sr.


The edge in hand speed as well as his precision timing ultimately resulted in Tarver being able to land the cleaner, more effective punches of the two fighters. In the eighth round, Tarver would bring the fight to a sudden conclusion.  After having Dwelly in trouble in the latter stages of round seven, Tarver put his opponent down with a combination highlighted by left hands that sent Dwelly down and out on the canvas. What was the eleventh win of his career, Antonio Tarver Jr. appears to be nearing title contention as winning the NABF championship will move him up the rankings in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Jr. Middleweight ratings, which the NABF is affiliated with the organization similar to Jonathan Guidry holding the NABA championship in the Heavyweight division per its affiliation with the World Boxing Association (WBA).


Out of the two victors in these two fights, it was Antonio Tarver Jr. that was the more impressive of the two, but it is important for Johnathan Guidry to remember that not every fight that you win will have a head-turning, highlight-reel like performance and he ultimately did what he needed to do in his fight with Bermane Stiverne  to get a victory. As for where Tarver and Guidry will go in terms of their progression throughout 2023, it obviously remains to be seen, but with each scoring a win, each has successfully taken a step forward.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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