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By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
Published December 5, 2007
Jab. Dance. Clinch. Move around. Jab. Clinch.
That just about describes Jeff Lacy and Antonio Tarver's on-again, off-again relationship since 2005, when the two Tampa Bay fighters appeared to be on a collision course.
Come on, guys. Even Sam and Diane eventually hooked up. Even Joanie and Chachi got together.
Now on the comeback trail, there's word that the collision course has been recharted, and a possible meeting could be in the works.
Personally, I'm not betting on it. But if they keep on dancing ...
Nov. 1, 2005
The word starts to get out. Tarver's promoter at the time, Joe DeGuardia, says he hasn't "closed my eyes to it," but using a favorite Tarver talking point makes a pre-emptive strike: Lacy's lack of national name recognition is a stumbling block read: we get more money for the fight if it does happen.
The irony: Despite an eight-year head start, Tarver isn't really that much of a bigger name than Lacy, who is generating more excitement at the time.
Nov. 3, 2005
Lacy says that after he destroys Scott Pemberton, he's officially calling Tarver out.
Nov. 5, 2005
Lacy destroys Scott Pemberton. He officially calls Tarver out.
"I want Antonio Tarver," he tells a Showtime television audience. "If (Joe) Calzaghe won't step up, that's who I want to fight."
The irony: Calzaghe does step up. And that doesn't end well.
Nov. 7, 2005
Tarver laughs off a fight with Lacy. "Who has Lacy beat to deserve a fight with me?" Tarver says.
The irony: Tarver had beaten Roy Jones and ... ummm ... yeah.
Nov. 10, 2005
Lacy keeps the pressure on. The two guys appear on Bay News 9 to debate. Know this: No one talks a better game than Tarver, who comes off in the debate as the slicker but more unlikable fellow.
"What has Jeff Lacy done?" Tarver says. "I'm the biggest thing going right now in boxing. I am the top draw. As far as I'm concerned, Lacy is just a regional fighter."
The irony: Just read the four previous sentences, and get back to me.
Nov. 11, 2005
Lacy says he's moving on.
"We don't need Tarver," Lacy said. "He's not a draw. He rode Roy Jones' coattails and got booed in his own hometown. Next year, he'll be coming to my press conferences begging for a fight."
Tarver mockingly calls Lacy a Showtime fighter, while pointing out he's on HBO.
The irony: Tarver fought on Showtime on Dec. 1, and is now calling out Lacy, who fights on HBO on Saturday.
Nov. 20, 2005
Lacy has a deal to fight Calzaghe, but Tarver keeps the fires burning.
"(Lacy) shouldn't have the right to speak my name because he's not on the same planet as me," Tarver tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The irony: Even Lacy would agree with that one. No one is on the same planet as Tarver.
Jan. 27, 2006
Behind the scenes, the negotiations go on. But ESPN.com reports that a deal for a Lacy-Tarver fight on Showtime falls through.
The irony: There's bad karma in making fights just a few months before the biggest showdown of your life.
June 19, 2006
Here we go again -- now that Lacy and Tarver both lost lopsided decisions, they look to each other for a big comeback payday.
Plans are for an October fight, and Lacy tells the Review-Journal: "I think it would be a fight people would be interested in, and it would be a fight I would like. There are a lot of appealing things about it."
The irony: When both guys were red hot, they couldn't ink a deal. With both coming off the kind of losses that had people wondering if they'd ever be the same again, they might fight? Uhhh.
July 18, 2006
Talks are all but dead, and by dead we mean not really dead but that's what the promoters are saying.
Lacy's promoter, Gary Shaw, says he had an informal deal with DeGuardia, but adds, "To be honest, I just don't think he wants to fight."
The irony: Shaw is dumped by Lacy as his promoter, and now has a two-fight deal to promote Tarver, who just won the first fight of that deal.
Lacy wins his comeback fight against Vitali Tsypko, but severely injures his left rotator cuff in the process. Surgery is scheduled, and doctors say he may never fight again.
The irony: Tarver's bank account lets out a little sob.
Though Lacy is rehabilitating from major surgery and people are doubting his return, Tarver seems to have more interest than ever. Hmmm. Claiming that money and ego were issues last time (well, duh!), he thinks this time negotiations will be a tad easier.
The irony: Tarver clearly thinks Lacy would be more desperate for the fight, though it's pretty obvious both guys could use the career boost.
Tarver knocks out Danny Santiago, and says after the fight that Lacy will likely be his next opponent if he beats Peter Manfredo on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The irony: Two days before Tarver's victory, Lacy tells the Times he absolutely will not fight Tarver as long as he's promoted by Shaw. "Why would I do anything that made Gary Shaw any money?" he says. Lacy says that Tarver needs to fight someone else to fulfill his contract to Shaw, then they'll talk.
Shaw says there is a contract for Tarver to meet Lacy at the St. Pete Times Forum on April 12. He says Golden Boy Promotions assures him Lacy will agree to fight Tarver provided he gets by Manfredo.
Lacy vehemently denies the existence of any deal, and says no way it happens. Besides, if he wins impressively, and with the 168-pound division potentially evolving into boxing's best division, does he need Tarver anymore?
The irony: Oh, like you need us to tell you.
[Last modified December 5, 2007, 02:31:25]