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Tarver-Jones III: The Final Hour.

Overall, the Tarver-Jones trilogy carries more additional significance than its modern boxing counterparts. Of course, battles such as those fought between Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward, and Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera resembled greatness in their own right, but essentially, they told the JONES TARVER2 Tarver Jones III: The Final Hour.

story of two fighters happily beating ten shades out of one another. No complaints here, but as negative as my first response was to the prospect of a third Tarver-Jones fight, I now concede that a final fight befits the tone set in their previous two encounters. Of course, there should still be no illusion about the fundamental reason this fight is happening. For Tarver, financial alternatives to a third Jones fight do not exist. However, as competitive as Tarver versus any other light heavyweight might be; his unique history with Jones and the nature of the stakes involved in this fight make it a compelling event. Come October 1, we may realize the end of the Jones legend.

Their first fight told the story of Tarver’s succession after a career in exile. The result denied Tarver of victory, and yet, those in denial held on to the statistics and propagated the myth of Jones’ superiority. The abruptness and sheer violent nature of Tarver’s vengeance came next. Paralyzing power ended Jones that night in a brutal finale so complete that one must consider Jones’ mere survival of Tarver in the first fight his only hope in the fight to come. Jones’ brooding initially hatched the plan to seek back the championship in a circuitous manner, with the toppling of then IBF champion Glen Johnson the first point of business. More so than in the any other fight; Jones appeared a broken fighter against Johnson. Without any other options, Jones faces his only chance at redemption in Tarver and this final confrontation.

The unpredictable nature of boxing disallows any credible predictions, but looking forward to the fight, two distinct possibilities emerge. In the majority of opinions, the fight’s destiny is to bring closure to Jones’ story in defeat. It might, however, bring closure to Jones’ career in a way that few expect. At his lowest ebb, Jones has this chance to prove himself the king of the light heavyweights in one last scintillating performance. We know of Tarver’s destructive capability in rematches, but in trilogies? Jones’ appearance in the Johnson fight indicated his time is short, bolstering Tarver’s chances despite even his own dawdling through fights many predicted him to win with ease. Nonetheless, where Jones is concerned, so is the matter of greatness. Jones’ faith and those, whose belief remain, come to this test hoping that something of the old fires remain within him.

Jones’ recent fragility does not inspire one to hope that he can resurrect himself enough to brush Tarver aside as he might have years ago, but there is a chance that his one-year hiatus, the return to his father, and adequate rumination on the task at hand will help him to summon enough of his dazzling former skills to bewilder Tarver, whose attentions outside of the ring often suppress his abilities inside it. The great fights, rematches and trilogies stand not only as impeccable examples of the finest combat, but they also tell stories that endure in our memories. Whether Jones rises to the occasion to bury his feud with Tarver, or succumbs to the power of his rival in devastating fashion once more, this final chapter is one that deserves our attentions.

Contact Jim Cawkwell at jimcawkwell@yahoo.co.uk

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