By Keith Idec
New Jersey’s State Athletic Control Board voted unanimously during a public hearing Thursday in Trenton to uphold Antonio Tarver’s six-month suspension and fined him $50,000 for failing a performance-enhancing drug test.
Tarver tested positive for synthetic testosterone August 11, three days before the heavyweight contender fought to a 12-round draw with Steve Cunningham at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The former undisputed light heavyweight champion was allowed to fight Cunningham because the ‘A’ sample from his urinalysis wasn’t received by New Jersey’s boxing commission until September 20. The ‘B’ sample wasn’t delivered to the SACB’s office until Oct. 15.
Tarver, 47, attended his appeal hearing and repeatedly claimed he is innocent. He still could file a civil appeal with the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court.
Coincidentally, his suspension ended Thursday because Tarver, who made $250,000 for facing Cunningham, failed the test exactly six months before the appeal hearing and was credited for time served. The result of the Tarver-Cunningham fight also has been changed to a no-contest.
While Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs, 2 NC) is expected to pay the $50,000 fine before he fights again, it’s possible his fine could be garnished from the check he receives for his next fight.
The PED suspension was Tarver’s second in three years. The California State Athletic Commission suspended him for one year and fined him $2,500 after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid following a June 2012 draw with cruiserweight Lateef Kayode in Carson, California.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.