October 2, 2005

Tarver survives late rally to outpoint Jones

By Robert Green

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Antonio Tarver survived a
furious late attack by Roy Jones Jr to win a unanimous decision
in their light heavyweight title bout on Saturday, his second
victory in three fights against the former undisputed champion.

In retaining his International Boxing Organization title,
Tarver was awarded the 12-round contest by a winning margin of
116-112 by two of the three judges, while the third favored the
champion 117-111.

Neither fighter was able to record a knockdown and although
Jones took the fourth and fifth rounds, Tarver was in command
for the remainder of the bout.

As the fight progressed, Tarver forced Jones against the
ropes on several occasions and continued to punish him with
flurries of punches.

Jones looked in serious trouble in the 11th round but
survived when it appeared the referee was poised to move in and
stop the contest.

The former champion then summoned up a final assault in the
12th round and although he hurt Tarver, the rally came too late
to affect the result.

"Tonight I had to really dig deep because you saw the best
of Roy Jones," the 36-year-old Tarver said after taking the
rubber match of their three bouts.

Jones won the first fight by a decision in 2003, but Tarver
scored a knockout victory in their last fight 17 months ago.

Jones, also 36, was smiling after the fight despite the
loss which dropped his overall record to 49-4.

"I enjoyed myself tonight," said Jones, who hinted that he
would like to continue fighting.

Tarver said he hoped his victory would give him the respect
Jones had enjoyed for winning championships at four different
weight divisions during his career.

The champion improved his record to 26-4 and added that the
victory was especially sweet as it was in front of a hometown
crowd of 20,895 at the St Pete Times Forum.

He said he planned to take a rest before deciding on his
next fight.