Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
MIAMI, Okla. – Four-time light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver (27-6, 19 KOs) of Tampa, Fla., will make his debut at heavyweight when he faces Nagy Aguilera (16-4, 11 KOs) of Newburgh, N.Y. by way of the Dominican Republic, in the 10-round main event tomorrow/Friday, Oct. 15, on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
In the co-feature at Buffalo Run Casino, unbeaten Shawn Porter (16-0, 12 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio, will make his fourth appearance on ShoBox in 10 months when he drops down a notch in weight to take on Hector Munoz (18-3-1, 11 KOs) of Albuquerque, N.M., in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Tarver, 41, is making the move from the SHOWTIME broadcast booth back to the ring, where he hasn’t fought since May 2009. He is attempting to become only the third light heavyweight to win a world heavyweight title. The others were Michael Spinks, in 1985, and Roy Jones Jr., in 2003.
Aguilera, 24, owns a career-best first-round knockout over former World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in 2009.
WEIGHTS: Tarver, 221 pounds, Aguilera 232; Porter, 146.4 pounds; Munoz 146.8.
The fighters participated at a press conference that preceded the weigh-in Thursday at Buffalo Run Casino.
What they had to say:
“I’m not going to put pressure on myself and say I want to win impressively, or I need to win impressively. I just want to do enough to win and look good if possible. I’m definitely excited about this fight and returning to the ring and not having to worry about making weight.
“I wanted a real test and I know Aguilera has trained hard for this, and he looks in great shape. So I expect a good fight.
“My dream is to win a world heavyweight title. It only takes one person to believe in you – and that’s me. The rest will come aboard later.
“In this weight division, I’m definitely a work in progress. There are obviously a lot of questions. I have questions. Can I hurt a true heavyweight? Can I take their punches?
“Tomorrow, you will get a glimpse. I hope to break him down mentally, and then physically. Styles make fights, and this is a good fight for me. I want to thank everyone who helped make it possible.’’
“I’m still young and learning but I think Tarver made a mistake fighting me. He picked me from what he saw from ringside in my last fight, but I barely trained for that one. For this I worked very hard for two months and I am in great shape. I had my best camp ever and have never been as prepared for a fight like I am for this one.
“I think people are going to be surprised at my punching power and my speed. I don’t think they realize how hard I hit or how fast I am.
“A fight of this magnitude is a tremendous opportunity for me. It’s like a world title fight. He has a lot of experience but I have youth on my side. I am not nervous. I’m ready for the fight of my life.
“I can’t predict a knockout or a decision; I just want to win. I promise you, this will be a good show.’’
“I want to thank Gary Shaw, Buffalo Run and SHOWTIME. Fighting on ShoBox has been a great experience for me. It has definitely given me a lot more exposure than I had and a lot more people are noticing me, which is very important in the sport of boxing.
“Everything is in order and in place. I am 16-0 and after tomorrow I will be 17-0.
“I’m looking forward to a good fight. Munoz is exactly what you see on tape: a straight-ahead, aggressive fighter with a great chin. I’m prepared to do what it takes to get my way around him and take him out of there.
“The decision to drop down in weight was a team decision. At my height (5-foot-7), it’s probably better for me to fight at 147 than 154. In the ring I feel the same now fighting at welterweight as I did at junior middleweight.’’
“I only had three amateur fights so I’m living the dream right now and can’t wait for Friday. I am here to bring it, and then bring it some more.
“This fight is everything to me. Now, I fight now only for me but for my three-month-old son, Maximus Gabriel. I need to feed him and take care of him and the way to do that is to win fights.
“Porter has the name, he was a 2008 U.S. Olympian and I know he’s favored. But you can’t measure heart and no one has a bigger heart them me. I am here to win.’’