There are worse ways I can imagine to spend a weekday night than to watch Fox Sports 1's Golden Boy Live program: getting all of the skin on my forehead shaved off by a hyperactive drug addict wielding a big chunk of glass, say, or listening to Aerosmith's "Love In An Elevator" for two hours straight. But it's a small number. Tuesday night, Antonio Tarver returned to the ring after a layoff due to a performance enhancing drug infraction, and knocked out a heavyweight in four rounds that a regularly knocked out journeyman KO'd in one.
Tarver, who took on an oblong shape in preparation for this bout, beat Mike Sheppard, who couldn't escape the 1st against Vinny Maddalone two years ago. In that 4th round, Tarver landed a left uppercut that dropped Sheppard, although Sheppard was gritty enough to get back up and get knocked back down again by a right hand to the body and again by a downward arcing left that prompted the ref to halt it. Tarver will not make "one last run" at heavyweight like this, or like anything. This is a borderline Hall of Famer doing his career's reputation no favors, and that's the sum value of it.
On the undercard, two semi-prospects spent untold rounds unnecessarily beating up outmatched, thoroughly defeated opponents.
One of them is from my region in D.C., light heavyweight Thomas Williams, Jr., who was given a challenge and a little action in the early four rounds by veteran Yusaf Mack before Williams turned it lopsided and piled on punishment Mack didn't need from about the 7th round to the 10th. I want to believe in Williams cuz I like rooting for people from my part of the world, but his footwork and balance are sloppy, and he wants to slug but doesn't have the power for it — five of Mack's six losses prior to Tuesday were by stoppage. A win against the best opponent of his career should have said something good about Williams, but it didn't.
Randy Caballero, a once much-hyped bantamweight prospect who has settled into something less to date, got some competitive rounds early against the tough Jessy Cruz, not that Cruz won any of them because Cruz is a regional Florida fighter who hasn't even thrived there. Then it went from "competitive but one-sided on the cards" to "just one-sided." Caballero seemed annoyed by Cruz's gall and seized on a 6th round body shot knockdown to stop Cruz the very next round. When he did, he tried to land a punch well after the ref stepped in to add a touch of "how uncool" to "why was this guy such a ballyhooed thing for a while?" None of this is to discount Williams or Caballero entirely, only that both performances didn't make a great impression. Also, did you know Caballero was going to spar with Frankie Leal to prepare for Cruz if Leal hadn't died in Mexico last month? That's the same Leal who was warned by Top Rank to retire. So while I'm sure Caballero was sincere in his gesture to want to honor Leal in this fight, it goes to show how ill-served he was even by his friends that he was supposed to get in the ring with one of them to spar when he shouldn't have been boxing at all.
I'll consume almost any boxing you put in front of me, but it's going to take a stellar match-up on FS1 for me to bother tuning in again. Watching is going to be unfulfilling every time based on my past experience, and the only question is the degree to which I'll be saddened for having been a viewer.