Tarver vs. Cunningham: It’s a Sleeper either way

At first glance “Sleepy Hallow” is a fitting title for this Heavyweight main event on tonight on Spike. Theirs a good chance for a sleepy affair but the argument could be made the bout is being slept on.

Does anyone care about Antonio Tarver’s aspirations of topping George Foreman’s record? Not really. Even with a win the goal won’t be accomplished until he gets a likely shot at Deontay Wilder’s strap.

Cunningham isn’t the household name that sparks interests either which is the reason why this fight has been put out to paster(check) and thrown on the pile of meaningless fights by the PBC.

Steve Cunningham may be a journeyman at heavy but his run at cruiserweight had a few high moments. Marco Huck, who fights on the undercard, runs the cruiser division, a fighter that was stopped in the 12th round by USS Cunningham.

Cunningham, like many men in the tragedy of a sport, has come up on the short-end of the stick for many decisions throughout his career. In fact in his last outing versus Glaskov Steve could have gotten the nod. If this Friday’s fight is close odds are the bigger name will get the nod. Cunningham is warrior that won’t be out-hussled by Tarver and that alone could be worth the price of admission.

Tarver has looked sluggish to decent at best since entering the ranks at heavyweight. However, last December he looked much closer to form albeit it came against Jonathan Banks, known more these days as Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer.

From the looks of it both men are in tip-top condition heading into Friday nights tilt. Cunningham a trim 204, and Tarver at 217 with some loose material around the midsection.

Tarver’s mid-section could be a major vulnerability if Cunningham targets the body early and often to go along with a steady jab and overhand rights. My guess is power won’t play a large role with Cunningham or Tarver. Sure either man could stop or hurt the other, just ask Tyson Fury and Jonathan Banks.

Tarver has the advantage as a skillful veteran, whereas Cunningham lack of high level ability is made up for in heart and hustle. Taking consideration of the slow- average workfare, this could be a decent paced fight. Cunningham usually delivers entertainment whether it’s from a steady lead as a front runner or getting of the canvas and back into fights.

The biggest question mark will be location, which I assume will be the middle of the ring. If so who will take the lead to push or force the other man to thrown more effective punches. Ultimately it will be Tarver who controls the ring and it will take Cunningham to come out of his shell to fluster or possibly wear down the older and less physically in-shape boxer.

A slow start will ensue but once each combatant warms up their aging engines we could get a competitive two-way contest. Cunningham tends to get of track gameplan wise and that’s generally when trouble strikes. After an early lead from Cunningham, Tarver will get his timing down and land the cleaner more telling shots to earn a close but clear win. My heart is going for Cunningham but my brain favors experience and skill.

My official predictions is Antonio Tarver by Unanimous Decision.

Side Note: Marco “Captain” Huck sets sail to America marking his first fight in the country when he takes on unbeaten Andreaj Gowski.(check) Huck is a can’t miss TV fighter so don’t. Also, Artur Szpilka sees action in the opening bout.

Written by Chris Carlson Owner & Host of Rope A Dope Radio blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio


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