'Rocky Balboa' star, 45, returns September 29
Scandal-plagued former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver (30-6-0-1 NC; 21 KO) will fight again Monday, September 29 in Hidalgo, Texas.
His opponent will be Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KO) and Tarver's son will fight on the undercard.
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
The fight will be contested at heavyweight and will be Tarver's first in 10 months. As a heavyweight, Tarver is 2-0, 1 KO and weighed 221 lbs for both bouts.
In March, Tarver was pulled over for a license plate violation when it was discovered there was a warrant for his arrest in Nevada. The details were a bit fuzzy but it's believed the warrant was filed last summer in Clark County, NV citing insufficient check and theft charges.
Allegedly, Tarver was also in hot water because he presumably failed to pay $200,000 in gambling debt to the Wynn Las Vegas compliments of a 2012 gambling binge, according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ Sports.
And in June of that year, Tarver was busted for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) after his title defense (a draw) against Lateef Kayode. He not only lost his fringe IBO Cruiserweight strap, he was banned from fighting for a year and the cable network Showtime banished him from its broadcast team and subsequently hired Paul Malignaggi as his replacement.
But despite his advancing years and problems outside the ring, Tarver is a youthful 45. If he can get focused and return to top form, he can secure one or more high-profile bouts.
Many forget Antonio Tarver, a bronze medal winner at the 1996 Olympics, is one of the most decorated amateurs in the history of USA boxing and the first American amateur to win the Pan American Games, the USA Championship, and the World Championship in the same year.
A three-time world light heavyweight champion and former cruiserweight king in the pro ranks, Tarver gained acclaim in the professional boxing community when he captured the vacant WBC and IBF titles with a unanimous decision over Montell Griffin.
After losing the WBC Light Heavyweight title to Roy Jones via a tight majority decision in 2003, Tarver became a mainstream celebrity of sorts following his one-punch, second round knockout of the fight legend in their rematch the following year.
Tarver's charisma and newfound stardom gained him the role of Mason 'The Line' Dixon, Rocky's boastful opponent in the sixth Rocky series installment, Rocky Balboa (2006). Dixon is portrayed as the current undisputed heavyweight champion of the world who is not shown the same respect as Rocky was when he was the heavyweight champion.
Mason 'The Line' Dixon ...er... Antonio Tarver returns later this month.
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