(During the global pandemic and the halt of live combat sports, we’ll be running features a little outside the box. In “Cards That Weren’t”, we’ll look at famous [or infamous] fight cards that never took place for one reason or another and discuss what was booked, what may have happened if it took place, and if the fighters ever faced off in the future.)
The Date: April 22, 2007
The Promotion: Seven years after ABC’s last foray into boxing, they were scheduled to air a double-header of Antonio Tarver vs. Elvir Muriqi and Chad Dawson defending his world title. The promotion was being handled by Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, who was working on a time buy, buying an hour of primetime from the network. Ultimately, it fell through and was picked up by Showtime a couple months later.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Tarver (24-4) vs. Elvir Muriqi (34-3)
Where Did They Stand: Tarver, than 38, was coming off of a loss to Bernard Hopkins, but was still a reputable name, especially coming off a starring performance in Rocky Balboa as Mason “The Line” Dixon. That, perhaps even more than his boxing accomplishments, merited a network headlining spot, although the memories of his famous prediction-turned-knockout of Roy Jones Jr. was still fresh in the minds of boxing fans.
How This Would Have Gone: Well, question not.
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: After the card fell through on ABC, Showtime picked it up a month and a half later, with Tarver taking a decision, although Muriqi was gamer than most thought, and seemed like he forced Tarver to really turn it on in the middle rounds.
WBC World Light Heavyweight Championship: Chad Dawson (c) (23-0) vs. Jesus Ruiz (19-4)
Where Did They Stand: Dawson, just 24, won the WBC Light Heavyweight crown just a couple months prior after defeating Tomasz Adamek, bringing some much-needed new blood into 175. Ruiz was brought in just to showcase Dawson, as they were clearly targeting a Dawson-Tarver matchup.
How This Would Have Gone: It just so happened this was the co-main of the Tarver-Muriqi card on Showtime that was supposed to air on ABC.
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: Dawson easily took care of business over a fighter that should have never come near a world title.