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Lateef Kayode to confront his toughest critic in Antonio Tarver

Lateef Kayode has heard enough from Antonio Tarver, and they haven’t stepped into the ring yet.

Tarver, the 43-year-old former world light-heavyweight champion, has provided commentary for some of the unbeaten Kayode’s cruiserweight fights on cable network Showtime.

“Every time I was fighting, he was saying I was not understanding boxing enough, that I don’t know how to use my right, my power,” Kayode said. “He’s basically saying I don’t know how to do my job.”

The 29-year-old Kayode (18-0, 14 knockouts) has an opportunity to confront the criticism of Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) when the pair headline a four-fight Showtime broadcast that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center.

“Young fighters get too emotional — he didn’t handle it too well and called me out,” Tarver said. “So I’ll show him what I was talking about.”

Tarver said he’s seen prospects like the Nigerian native Kayode sabotaged before by handlers not being honest enough about a boxer’s weaknesses. Kayode is guided by famed trainer Freddie Roach at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.

“Everyone telling you how good you are — that can be condemning,” Tarver said. “Well, I’m at a different level of boxing. This isn’t checkers. It’s chess. And there’s going to be some frustrating moments for him in this fight. He’ll be swinging and missing all night.”

Tarver, after back-to-back losses to light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in 2008 and 2009, debuted as a cruiserweight in July and upset Australia’s Danny Green in Sydney by a ninth-round technical knockout.

Tarver, who knocked out Roy Jones Jr. in 2004 and beat him again by decision in 2005, is hoping a win over Kayode will secure a bout in the fall against world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. “I can win on any one night, and claim my rightful position in boxing history,” Tarver said.

The card Saturday also includes a middleweight bout pitting Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs) against 40-year-old former junior-middleweight champion Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs). “He can’t handle my skill,” Quillin said. “It’ll be like, ‘Old man, sit … down.'”

In another bout, Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs), World Boxing Assn. super-welterweight champion, faces Austin Trout (24-0, 14 KOs).

And the Showtime portion of the card will open with bantamweight contenders Vusi Malinga (20-3, 12 KOs) of South Africa and Leo Santa Cruz (19-0-1, 11 KOs) of Los Angeles.

“Could be a war,” Santa Cruz said. “He doesn’t move and I don’t like to run.”







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