Tarver: I have to beat Cunningham

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Antonio TarverAntonio Tarver at age 46 looks to notch a victory under his belt against Steve Cunningham this weekend. Should he conquer Cunningham, he eyes the heavyweight crown.

“Even at 46, I amaze myself that I can still do it at this level,” Tarver told ESPN.com’s Brian Campbell. “I’m really excited about going up against Cunningham, who is a formidable opponent. This guy brings it every time out. He very well could be in line right now for the mandatory [title shot] but the decision didn’t go his way [against Vyacheslav Glazkov in March] so he’s hungry. I think style wise it’s going to be an exciting fight. I’m looking to prove to all my naysayers that I am a serious threat to the heavyweight crown. I have to beat a guy like Steve Cunningham, no doubt about it.”

Tarver tested positive in 2012 for an anabolic steroid but said that setback never deterred him.

“I stayed faithful, I stayed prayed up and I gave it to God. I couldn’t really do anything about it, so I gave it to God. He gave me a second chance at this, and I’m going to run with it. I’m not looking back. It has been a tough three years. Nobody understands what I went through and continue to go through. I have been humbled through life because that hurt me and broke my heart when I wasn’t able to commentate in the Olympics. That was a big deal. I represented this country. That could have been something that really spring-boarded me into something else that could have been tremendous in my career. They took a lot from me — my job, my livelihood. I suffered for three long years, and I’m not ever going to forget that. Everybody that turned their back on me and said that I was done washed up and through. That’s what motivates me today, that I can do this again.”

He’s steadfast to get a shot at Wladimir Klitschko should he beat Cunningham on Friday.

“Klitschko is the man at the mountain top. He ain’t my new Roy Jones; he’s just the man that holds all the belts. But that’s the fight I want — two worlds collide.”