Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. (1st meeting)

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2003-11-08 : Roy Jones Jr 175 lbs beat Antonio Tarver 175 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12


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  • Six weeks after defeating John Ruiz to win the WBA heavyweight title on March 1, 2003, the WBA received written confirmation from Jones that he would keep the heavyweight title and relinquish his light heavyweight title. However, he was unable to secure the fights he wanted at heavyweight. Promoter Murad Muhammad said, "We worked on a Holyfield fight and it fell through. We worked on a Tyson fight and it fell through. We wanted Lennox Lewis, but he's not fighting." Jones considered fighting Corrie Sanders but decided against it. "Why would I fight a guy who's 6-4, lefthanded and doesn't have a title for less money than I made to fight John Ruiz?" Jones asked rhetorically. Jones finally decided to return to light heavyweight and fight Tarver, who had won two of Jones' vacated light heavyweight titles.
  • Jones was guaranteed $5 million and Tarver received $1.6 million.
  • Jones was an 8-1 favorite.
  • There was a crowd of 8,794.
  • Tim Smith of the New York Daily News reported: "He [Jones] had to lose 25 pounds to move down from heavyweight to make the 175-pound limit to face Tarver. Five days before the match, Jones weighed 183 pounds. He was gaunt and drawn at the weigh-in. He sat slumped on a stool while he waited to step on the scales. Once he climbed into the ring, Jones was drained after four rounds and survived mainly because Tarver decided to counter instead of pressing the action."
  • Tarver landed 120 of 504 total punches (24%). He threw 255 power shots and landed 73 (29%). Jones landed 111 of 424 total punches (26%). He threw 252 power shots and landed 94 (37%).
  • Jones became the first reigning heavyweight title holder in history to move down in weight and win a light heavyweight title. Jones vacated the WBA Heavyweight Championship on February 20, 2004.
  • The fight generated 302,000 pay-per-view buys.