Trout, Tarver Score Stoppages in ESPN Thursday Night Special

By Mike Sloan Dec 12, 2014

Former undisputed light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, a decade removed from his landmark second round knockout of the once-great Roy Jones Jr., was in action on Thursday night. “The Magic Man” continued his quest to become the oldest man to ever capture the heavyweight title took a slow step in the right direction with a seventh-round knockout of journeyman Johnathon Banks on ESPN.

Tarver was methodical in his approach at picking apart Banks but his game plan worked well. Tarver jabbed from a distance and when his foe got a little too close, the Floridian would rake him with short hooks on the inside. Banks fought well but he seemed to have a difficult time in dealing with Tarver’s southpaw stance and reach. Eventually, Tarver began throwing more punches, which paved the way toward the stoppage.

Related: ESPN Boxing Play-by-Play

A right/left stung Banks midway through the seventh and as he backed away from the 46-year old; Tarver patiently stalked him, looking to time his attacks. A few more shots landed cleanly and once Banks stumbled into the ropes, Tarver planted a perfectly-time straight left on the jaw, sending Banks to the canvas.

Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs) was able to climb back to his feet and continue, but Tarver, sensing blood, was all over him. The taller Tarver swarmed Banks and eventually landed another thudding left hand, which sent Banks stumbling into the ropes and downward. Veteran referee Jack Reiss was on the spot within seconds and correctly halted the beating, ending the fight at the 2:25 mark of the seventh.

Tarver, now 31-6 with 22 KOs, called out a litany of top heavyweights after the fight, namely world-recognized champion Wladimir Klitschko. Tarver stated that he is a true star of the sport and that he won’t rest until he is the oldest man in history to claim the heavyweight throne.

Trout Patiently Picks Apart Grajeda En Route to TKO

Former WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout continued to inch his way back onto the big stage of boxing with a one-sided -- albeit aesthetically unpleasant -- dismantling of journeyman Luis Grajeda. Trout was tentative to let his hands go early on, but his jab was more than he needed to eventually dispose of Grajeda.

As the fight wore on, Trout began to slowly open up his arsenal more and more and when he did, Grajeda (18-4-2, 14 KOs) had no answers for it. Trout cracked his foe with stiff right jabs and when the opportunities presented themselves, “No Doubt” dug nasty hooks and uppercuts to the body. By the time the seventh round approached, Trout was in total control.

Grajeda wanted less and less to do with his taller, more powerful opponent and opted to back away without throwing punches. Trout simply stalked his prey down and tore into his body and it appeared as though a late right uppercut to the ribs hurt Grajeda near the end of the seventh. As it turned out, Grajeda’s corner had seen enough and threw in the towel before the eighth frame had started, ending the fight.

The win allowed trout to keep his goal of returning to championship bouts alive, but he admitted after the fight that he still has quite a bit of work to do.

“I thought I did okay. I know I can do better,” the reserved former champ, now 28-2 (14) said. “I gotta look at the tape and see what it is, but we can get better. I would never give myself an A but I think I did OK.”


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