Antonio Tarver had little to prove after a very successful career. Except, you know boxers, those careers usually end only in humiliating defeat.
So on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center, the 43-year-old laced them up one more time, facing a tough undefeated 29-year-old Nigerian fighter trained by none other than Freddie Roach, the man who took Manny Pacquiao to the top.
What transpired were two fights in which Lateef Kayode won the first half and Tarver won the second half. It didn’t quite break that cleanly but pretty close.
Judge Max Deluca scored it 115-113 for Tarver and David Denkin saw it 115-113 for Kayode. The deciding vote went to David Moretti, who didn’t break the tie, scoring it even, 114-114. On Denkin’s card Kayode needed to win the 12th round for tie, and he did. The other jusges scored it for Tarver.
In other words, a draw.
The fighters saw it a bit differently.
“I beat the guy in every aspect,” Tarver (29-6-1) said. “I hit him with clean shots all night long. He was sloppy just like I said he was.”
The sloppiness spawns from comments that Tarver, acting as a commentator for Showtime, issued on television. Kayode disagreed and so the fight was made.
Kayode saw the fight another way.
“Everyone knows I won this fight,” Kayode (18-0-1) said. “I’m a strong man and I came to fight. Power is my game and I did my job. He won because he works for Showtime. Let’s go to HBO.”
Actually, Tarver didn’t win the fight, it’s just after Kayode’s fast start it’s easy to see why he felt that way.
The stats were pretty even. Tarver connected on 99 of 484 punches thrown while Koyode hit 105 of 513. In power punches, Tarver was 72 of 199 and Kayode was 83 of 254.
There were no knockdowns in the fight but each fighter was hurt at one point, not that either would admit to that.
Will there be a rematch? This is boxing, what do you think?
In the other main event, Winky Wright, trying a comeback after a three-year layoff at age 40, didn’t look bad but he didn’t look like the fighter most would like to remember. It wasn’t like he had chosen an easy opponent in Peter Quillin, now undefeated in 27 fights.
The judges gave the 10-round decision to Quillan by scores of 98-91, 98-91 and 97-92.
Quillin got a knockdown in the fifth round with a right that stunned Wright, who staggered a few steps back before landing on his seat. Quillan started to dominate in the sixth round with wicked combinations that foreshadowed the eventual outcome.
Quillin almost put Wright (51-6-1) down in the eighth with an uppercut followed by flurries that left Wright covering up. But Wright’s legs defied his age.
Perhaps Wright should have considered a lesser payday against an easier opponent but some occassional flurries did excite the crowd.
“He definitely won the fight,” Wright said. “No doubt at all. He fought a good fight and came prepared. I think I need to be at 154 (pounds) if I fight again.”
Meanwhile, it seems the only struggling Quillin did was with his cellestial geography.
“The sky’s the limit,” Quillin said. “This time we went to Pluto, next time we go to Jupiter.”
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