Jones wins majority decision over Tarver

Posted: Sunday, November 09, 2003

LAS VEGAS (AP) Roy Jones Jr. nearly paid the price for trying to take care of some unfinished business.

Jones, looking nothing like the fighter who dominated the light heavyweight division for years, had as much as he could handle Saturday night from Antonio Tarver before winning a majority decision to regain the 175-pound title.

Both Jones and the decision were loudly booed after a fight in which Tarver was the aggressor and Jones waited until the late rounds to throw more than one punch at a time.

Jones won back the title he vacated to move up and win the WBA heavyweight title from John Ruiz in March, but Tarver gave him as much trouble as any fighter in his 14-year pro career.

Tarver seemed to land the bigger punches and more of them, marking the left side of Jones' face and taking the fight to him. But Jones landed well to the body and did enough to win on two of the three ringside cards.

Judge Glen Hamada had Jones winning 117-111, judge Dave Harris had it 116-112 and Jerry Roth had it 114-114. The Associated Press had it even 114-114.

''I beat the man tonight, that makes me the man,'' Tarver said. ''I won the fight hands down. His face tells the story.''

In a fight full of trash talking, Jones seemed in danger of his first real loss as the rounds went on. Jones appeared tired early, and said having to lose weight to come down from heavyweight took its toll.

''I was very tired because of the weight,'' Jones said. ''It was a tough fight because of the weight. I had to lose 25 pounds, and it was a tough 25 pounds to lose.''

The 34-year-old Jones, who had to drop from 193 in his last fight with John Ruiz to the 175-pound limit, had vowed to make Tarver pay for that, as well as some ill-advised comments he made about Jones trying to duck him.

The fight was more of a chess match early, with both fighters trying to figure the other out and neither doing much to try and score punches. The action was so slow in the first round that the crowd booed as both fighters crouched and looked at each other.

But it picked up as the rounds went on, building to a frenzied finish as Jones came on strong in the final two rounds.

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