—Cunningham controlled the early tempo in a slowly paced first three rounds, the difference being his pressure behind his jab.
—Tarver wobbled Cunningham with a left to the ear late in the fourth round and rocked him with a similar blow in the fifth.
—Fading, breathing heavily and often fighting off the ropes, Tarver landed the cleaner shots down the stretch, mostly head-swiveling straight and counter left hands as he won the last four rounds on the judges' scorecards.
Antonio Tarver and Steve Cunningham may be long-shot contenders for a heavyweight title given their ages and undersized status by modern-day standards. And after a split draw at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, their chances at earning a title shot could be even more dubious.
Cunningham’s subtle power and durability stole the earlier rounds, even as he fought through a welt over his right eye down the stretch.
But Tarver overcame a slow start, fatigue and an aggressive body attack by Cunningham.
Tarver was often the slicker, more efficient puncher, but Cunningham had more energy early on before being stunned by separate left hands in the fourth and fifth rounds.
In the end, the aging former world champions had to settle for a draw with judges Robin Taylor and John McKaie on the opposite sides of 115-113 scores, while John Stewart had at 114-114.
- Tarver vs Cunningham