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Antonio Tarver previews Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV, has a message for 'jackass' Shannon Briggs

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Spike TV is now the official home for combat sports.

After giving Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) its big break back in 2006 -- only to be subsequently kicked to the curb like yesterday's trash when FOX came calling -- the cable television network is back in the mixed martial arts (MMA) business with Bellator MMA.

And that was only the beginning.

Not long after, Viacom also welcomed GLORY kickboxing to the fold, which continues to do impressive numbers (see them here). It was only a matter of time then, before Spike hooked up with the "sweet science" by way of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

The network's first event will take place this Friday night (March 13, 2015) at 9:00 p.m. ET from the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., featuring a pair of marquee match-ups pitting Andre Berto against Josesito Lopez and Shawn Porter opposite Robert Garcia.

"All four of these fighters are in the same predicament: they're in desperate need of a good performance," said color analyst Antonio Tarver. "I don't think just winning will be good enough. Both Shawn Porter and Andre Berto need to win impressively. And these guys they're fighting? They need to win impressively too, to put their names among the very best in the division."

Tarver, a five-time, two-division world champion boxer who dazzled fight fans with his wars against Roy Jones Jr., is perhaps most recognizable for his role as Mason "The Line" Dixon alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa.

"These guys are desperate to do something big, something great in their careers," he continued. "If they want to get to the next level, they need an impressive performance on Friday night. That said, I'm looking for the upset Friday. I can feel it. I can't say who it's gonna be, but I'm predicting an upset on Friday night on Spike TV."

Speaking of upset, Tarver was fairly hot under the collar regarding his own career inside the squared circle. In perhaps an unintended bit of irony, the 46-year-old now gets to play the aging Rocky character in an attempt to become the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of the sport.

Even if it means starting at the top.

"If Chris Byrd can become heavyweight champion, why can't I?" asked the former light heavyweight. "If you look at Wladimir Klitschko's resume, he has nobody on his resume. He's fighting these hand-picked opponents who don't know how to fight. They don't have the experience to beat Klitschko, they don't know how to win. I'm a proven winner and I can get the job done. They don't see it yet, but when I knock Shannon Briggs out, it will be obvious to the world."

Yeah ... he doesn't like Shannon Briggs.

Probably because the forty-something ex-champ, who is 6-0 with five knockouts after coming up short against Vitali Klitschko back in 2010, has been trolling the Ukrainian brothers online with a series of outrageous YouTube videos (watch a sample here).

"The Magic Man" was not amused.

"You can't get the heavyweight title fight by just talking, or by making yourself look like a jackass on the Internet," said Tarver. "Shannon Briggs has an attention deficit. He needs attention. He's doing everything but fighting. I ain't seen him fight yet. You gotta fight somebody and I'm that man you gotta fight. Stop running. If you wanna fight Klitschko, you gotta beat me, period."

The clock is ticking for both men.

As far as a return to the ring, Tarver is shooting for the end of April, but would settle for late May for the right opponent. Insisting that he's "only beaten himself" in all six of his losses, the sharp-tongued southpaw wants to ride the wave in what he expects to be a "wild year for boxing."

Starting with this.

"I mean business when I say I'm gonna become the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of the sport," Tarver explained. "In fact, I should have moved up years ago. Don't nobody know how hard it was for me to make 175. I killed my body and wasn't able to perform at the level I was accustomed to because I was hurting my body. I wasn't healthy. I'm a better fighter today. Nobody at heavyweight that can beat me right now, but they're not willing to step into the ring to prove it."

"They're scared."