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www.fightwireimages.comTrash talk to thrash talk
This time around, Tarver & Dawson will let hands do the talking

Report and photos by Chris Cozzone

Last time Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson prepared to toe the scratch in the squared circle, fight fans were treated (or subjected) to weeks of pre-fight verbal banter.

There was so much smack talk, the war in the ring couldn’t possibly (and didn’t) live up to the preceding war of words.

This time around, however, Tarver and Dawson have put a lid on the trash talk.

At today’s final presser, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s The Joint arena, in Las Vegas, neither fighter went beyond the prediction of a victory.

www.fightwireimages.comOn Saturday, Dawson (27-0, 17 KOs), having won a lopsided unanimous decision in the first fight, will defend his IBF and IBO light-heavyweight straps against Tarver (27-5, 19 KOs) in a rematch. The fight, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, will be televised on HBO from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

“I love being in this position,” said Tarver. “I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. I know what a win will do for my career—and I know what a loss will do.

“I’m in great shape and I will do put on the best performance of my career Saturday night.”

Dawson was equally low key.

“It’s never hard to get up for a fight like this,” he said. “I know what I got at stake. My career is on the line but I will remain victorious.“I will still be on top at the end of Saturday night, then it’ll be time to take on bigger and better things.”

The chief trainers were less deadpan about the rematch.

“Don’t miss it—it’s gonna be quick,” said Dawson’s trainer, former champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.

Former champ Buddy McGirt, Tarver’s pilot, held the podium a few more seconds than Muhammad, proclaiming his fighter’s return to championship through “skill, will, nuts and guts.”

With the comedy already provided by promoter Gary Shaw, Mike Criscio, Dawson’s manager, added a bit of drama to the press conference, challenging Tarver’s camp to a side bet of $100,000—unless they wanted to double it to 2K.

“Still no takers?” he asked the Tarver camp. “I think that tells you what’s going on here.”

Promoter Shaw noted at the presser’s onset, that today marked the two-year anniversary of the death of his former fighter, Diego “Chico” Corrales.

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