Antonio Tarver-Lateef Kayode Preview

    Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode

(IBO Cruiserweight Title)

12 Rounds, Carson, CA, June 2, 2012 (Showtime)

Headlining Showtime’s “Four Warned” card from Carson California this Saturday are cruiserweights Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver, and highly regarded prospect Lateef Kayode.  Tarver, now 43 years of age, has had a spectacular 15 year career, compiling a 26-6 (20) record, and beating some excellent fighters such as Roy Jones Jr. (twice), Glen Johnson and Danny Green along the way.  After losing in back to back fights against Chad Dawson in 2008 and 2009, it looked as if Tarver’s career had grinded to a halt, however, a recent TKO victory over 14th rated Danny Green, has put him right back in the contender mix, and now he is anxious to hand out another old school beat down to the latest upstart, and position himself for another championship run.

Stnading in his way is Lateef Kayode, a 29-year old Nigerian, fighting out of Hollywood, California (and trained by Freddie Roach), with an 18-0 (14) record and a boxrec.com rating of #8.  He is a big strong puncher who is short on experience, but long on “lights out” power.  This should be a very exciting fight, with Tarver promising to educate the youngster on the perils of fighting at the next level:

 “His dreams are gonna come crumbling down.  Because there is a difference from being on the outside looking in.  When you’re under that fire, and that heat, it’s a big difference.  It might look easy from the outside, but when you’re in there all by yourself and Freddie Roach can’t do nothin’ but get you some water, it’s a whole new ballgame.  Welcome to the big time, baby!    

So tune in Saturday at 9:00 EST on Showtime for the first of four televised bouts, with the Antonio Tarver-Lateef Kayode cruiserweight showdown pulling anchor in the night’s main event.

Antonio Tarver

29-6 (20)

 

Lateef Kayode

18-0 (14)

A-

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B

B+

Hand Speed

B

A+

Opposition & Experience

C

B

Defense

B-

B

Power

A

C

Punch Output

B+

A

Chin

A

B-

Punch Accuracy

C+

B-

Conditioning

B

C

Aggression

A

The Break Down

With Bernard Hopkins having made fighting past forty fashionable, Antonio Tarver is out to prove that there still plenty of fight in his 43-year old game.  He is an experienced boxer with decent hand speed and punching power, and he is good at slipping shots inside and outside the pocket.  Against Danny Green, Tarver did a good job of tying Green up on the inside, utilizing decent footwork to avoid the early charges of the Australian, and turning the tables on him by the end.  In this fight, he will definitely have his hands full dealing with an opponent who is much bigger, stronger, younger, and busier.  Tarver will look to land one shot, two shots, and occasionally three shots before wrapping Kayode up, and preventing him from getting his hands extended.  Tarver is not a terribly accurate (or prolific) puncher (landing only 18% of his 437 punches against Bernard Hopkins in 2006), however, in his last fight with Danny Green, he looked sharper, and more polished than in recent fights, and If he remains calm and weathers the initial onslaught, than I think he will find plenty of opportunities to score as the fight progresses.      

Lateef Kayode’s advantages are his size, strength, aggression, power, and activity, with conditioning arguably in his favor due to his 15-year age advantage.  He does come in wild at times, throwing haymakers and leaving himself open to counters, but he has good hand speed and he is certainly built to bang.  Unfortunately, Tarver is good at handling guys who come directly at him, and if Kayode doesn’t manage to hurt him, he may have trouble beating him over the distance.  Ultimately, this is an interesting matchup between a skilled veteran that is getting up in years, and an inexperienced knockout artist with plenty to prove.  It is a question of who can impose their will, and who can adapt along the way.

Conclusion

I predict that Kayode will come out charging, out of control, and will try to take Tarver’s head off from the opening bell.  In doing so, however, he may encounter resistance like he has never faced.  Tarver seemed to get under his skin at the press conference, and I think Kayode’s inexperience and the ease with which he has disposed of 18 previous challengers may work against him in this fight.  So far, he has steamrolled through some very mediocre talent thus far in his career, and he has yet to face someone capable of standing up to his charges and matching him punch for punch.  I think it will be tense over the first few rounds as Kayode loads up and attempts to put Tarver’s enormous dome in the cheap seats, however, in the end I think Tarver will smother, clinch and grab Kayode to negate his power, surviving his onslaught and tiring him out by the later rounds.  By the sixth round on, I think Traver will be in complete control, putting his punches together and landing effective counter shots.  It may not be pretty, in fact, it could be a rather dull affair midway through, but in the end, I think Tarver will expose Kayode as a bit one-dimensional, and earn the victory over 12 rounds.   

(Tarver by unanimous decision: 116-112)

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2 comments

  1. Sorry I didn’t get with you directly, but here is how I see this fight going.
    I actually see Kayode coming out under control and boxing and this will work to his advantage. With fewer opportunities to counter and being not all that accurate, Tarver will begin to press the action in the middle to late rounds. Kayode will then sit down on his punches and explode at Tarver in a way that he will not be able to defend.
    Patience in the early rounds will be the key, however, and if he goes off like a stick of dynamite, it will be an early victory for Tarver.
    TKO 10 – Kayode

    • Brian,
      That is exactly what makes this an interesting (and hopefully) entertaining fight; differing opinions. It looked like Tarver got into Kayode’s head a little at the press conference, and I thought Kayode lost his cool a bit. Like you said, if Kayode goes off like a stick of dynamite, I think he will play into Tarver’s hands. Those first few rounds will be critical. I think if Tarver survives early he will find momentum down the stretch; but then again anything is possible. It should be a great night of boxing. I’ll be looking for your coverage.

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