TAMPA — Antonio Tarver is never short on words, and he directed some testy ones at former trainer Lou Harris this week for opening his gym to Clinton Woods.
Woods trained at the Frontline Outreach Center in Orlando the past two weeks, with his camp admitting it was an attempt to get inside the Tampa resident's head.
"They picked my brain," said Harris, who was Tarver's coach for about 10 years. "He's still the same fighter he was, same four punches. Only thing wrong with Antonio is he got older."
Tarver, 39, responded by calling Harris an opportunist, and saying he was glad Woods trained there.
"The blind leading the blind," Tarver said.
Harris, who was credited at the time with saving Tarver's career and helping the fighter rehabilitate himself after a drug problem, is still sore his former pupil left the gym at 28 after winning the bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics.
"His head got big; he left one day, and the next thing you know he's telling everyone he's from Tampa," Harris said of Tarver, a native of Orlando.
Tarver said he left to return to previous trainer Jimmy Williams, whom Tarver felt was better suited to prepare him for a pro career. "It was a tough decision," Tarver said. "I did a lot of philanthropy for Frontline Outreach. I think I've done my work, and they got a lot of national attention.
"I put them on my shoulders and carried them all the way to the Olympics. ''
MOUTH OF THE SOUTH: It was a low-key affair at Thursday's final news conference.
Then Tarver stepped to the podium.
The light heavyweight proceeded to trash Woods, firing up the pro-Woods crowd and WBC champ Chad Dawson, as well.
Tarver said he had Dawson in his sights, with Dawson firing back that if he really wanted to fight him, he has had multiple chances.
"He's been ducking me for a year," Dawson said. "Everyone knows that."
UNDERCARD: The women's fight between Laura "Lady Ram" Ramsey (8-3, 4 KOs) and Germany's Alexandra Maloy (2-3-2) will be a rematch of Ramsey's first boxing match. According to the Women Boxing Archive Network, Ramsey beat Maloy in an amateur fight in St. Petersburg in 2002.
Ramsey runs the Lady Ram's Self–Enhancement Center in Lake Wales.
John C. Cotey can be reached at john
email@example.com or (813) 909-4612.