Johnson/Tarver: Round-by-Round

Originally Published: June 18, 2005
By David Cooper | ESPN.com

A round-by-round account of Antonio Tarver's unanimous decision over Glen Johnson in their light heavyweight title bout Saturday at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. Two judges scored the bout 116-112 in Tarver's favor, the other 115-113. Tarver (23-3) avenged a loss to Johnson (42-10-2) in their first meeting last December in Los Angeles.

In the undercard, former welterweight champion Ike Quartey (36-2-1) continued his comeback effort with a 10-round unanimous decision over Verno Phillips (38-11-1) in a junior middleweight bout. Quartey prevailed despite being knocked down in the ninth. He avoided a second knockdown by Phillips toward the end of the round when the referee ruled that Quartey slipped.

Unofficial scorecard
Round
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
Johnson
9
10
9
9
10
9
9
9
9
9
10
9
111
Tarver
10
9
10
10
9
10
10
10
10
10
9
10
117

Round 1

Both fighters come out cautious in the opening minute. Johnson respects Tarver's reach. Tarver sizes up Johnson more so than actually throwing his right jab. It's a cat-and-mouse game so far. Tarver scores with a left in the final minute; Johnson counters. Neither fighter has established a rhythm.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 2

Both fighters become more aggressive, but the pace slows at the end of the first minute of the round. Tarver begins to throw combinations with little effect. Johnson methodically stalks Tarver, unloading lefts. Tarver continues to box well, though Johnson waits for an opening to throw a big punch. A 1-2 by Johnson to the body gets to Tarver. Still, Tarver has Johnson at arm's length.
ESPN.com scores it: Johnson 10-9

Round 3

Tarver continues to throw combinations, his hands more active than Johnson's. Johnson pursues Tarver, hands raised, though Tarver gets through with combinations to the body. Johnson responds with big shots, but Tarver is dictating the fight, sticking Johnson with a series of punches. Johnson lunges with a left and misses. Tarver slows down a bit in the final 30 seconds of the round. Johnson remains unable to engage Tarver in a brawl.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 4

Tarver lands solid punches in the first minute, but cannot afford to rest on laurels. Johnson keeps coming. Tarver scores with a left-right combination and continues the attack. Johnson takes the punishment, and still keeps coming. Tarver dominates the round with combinations, scoring at will. Johnson lands a 1-2, but Tarver's punches have a cumulative effect.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 5

Johnson looks to be the aggressor first, hitting Tarver with a series of lefts. Tarver gets off yet another combination, but it has less of an effect than in previous rounds. Johnson appears to be gaining steam, fighting a patient fight, moving forward with his punches. Johnson scores with a left, then a right. The pace slows, and Johnson is picking up with his left. The body shots by Johnson appear to take a toll on Tarver.
ESPN.com scores it: Johnson 10-9

Round 6

Told by his trainer that he is losing rounds, Johnson digs in to take the fight to Tarver, starting with body shots. Tarver still gets off more punches, keeping Johnson at bay with his right jab. In the final minute, Tarver gets off a series of punches. Tarver is outboxing Johnson, but Tarver is far from hurting him. Tarver threw more than 100 punches in the round.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 7

Tarver maintains his game plan of peppering Johnson. Johnson still keeps coming, but is losing rounds by waiting for the big-blow opportunity. Tarver keeps his hands moving, Johnson keeps pursuing. Another combination by Tarver lands and scores in the final minute. Tarver starts with the right lead and follows up quickly with additional shots. Tarver's in control.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 8

Johnson is urged to be more aggressive before the round begins, yet the tempo remains the same, with Tarver leading the dance. Johnson lands a couple of hard shots to the body, but at this point he need the big shot to happen. Tarver is too savvy for that, sticking his right to keep Johnson at bay. Tarver has Johnson where he wants him, bobbing and weaving. Tarver is executing beautifully.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 9

Tarver has not let his guard down, sticking to his game plan. Johnson is landing big shots, one at a time. He must throw more punches to have a shot at winning on the cards. Tarver lands timely combinations; Johnson stands his ground and moves forward. In the final 10 seconds, both fighters pick up the pace, but Johnson does not get the chance to land the big one.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 10

"You need to drop him, G!" trainer Orlando Cuellar tells Johnson. Tarver keeps up his defenses, fighting smartly. Tarver still continues to punch, not letting down. He lets fly the combinations. Johnson shows signs of tiring, trying to tie up Tarver. The crowd starts to chant Tarver's name.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Round 11

Tarver continues to be the more active, landing left uppercuts as part of his arsenal within the first 30 seconds of the round. Johnson takes the hits, to his credit, but is losing the fight. Johnson cannot be counted out, though, landing heavy shots to the body. Tarver is not swayed, but Johnson stuns Tarver with a shot to the face. Tarver responds in kind. Johnson's face is swollen. He presses the attack, but is unable to hurt Tarver much. Johnson goes for broke, hitting Tarver hard and takes the round.
ESPN.com scores it: Johnson 10-9

Round 12

This crowd is standing for the final round. After both fighters exchange courtesy taps of gloves, they go to work. Tarver goes to his reliable flurries. "Tarver! Tarver! Tarver!" the crowd chants. The pace slows slightly in the second minute. Tarver is buying time after having fought a well-executed fight. Johnson knows he needs a knockdown to win it, but cannot get an opening. Tarver is cautious enough not to walk into a Johnson shot. Tarver takes the final round.
ESPN.com scores it: Tarver 10-9

Tarver wins by unanimous decision.

David Cooper, who was ESPN.com's boxing editor in 2006-07, contributes round-by-round accounts of the major bouts of the year.

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