Four Warned and Four Ready this Saturday at Home Depot
By David A. Avila & Liz Parr
Last time these boxers met was in a Los Angeles press conference. It was one of the most entertaining press conferences seen in a while. If the fights are half as good as the press conference it should be electrifying.
Tarver, Lateef “Power Kayode, Winky Wright, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillen and several others lead the impressive fight card “Four Warned” on Saturday June 2, at the Home Depot Center. Showtime will televise.
Back on April 23, the quickly assembled press conference saw a crunch of media members witness Tarver and Kayode exchange virulent promises of defeat. Almost every fighter that spoke that day could not have emphasized their point better than a script writer for a major television program. It was both entertaining and eyebrow raising.
Kayode was especially angry at Tarver for the comments he made while working for Showtime analyzing the African boxer’s fights.
“I'm going to prove that all the things he said about me were wrong. First of all, he said all my punches were sloppy and second of all, he said I'm not fighting with any spirit,” said Kayode (18-0, 14 KOs) a native of Nigeria. “He's going to get hurt so bad, so bad. I'm coming for him.”
Tarver, a former light heavyweight world champion and the current IBO cruiserweight titleholder, said his negative comments made toward Kayode while analyzing the fights is all part of his job.
“I'm not paid to stroke anybody or sit behind that desk and promote or market a fighter. I've got to see it with my own eyes and tell it how I see it,” said Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) a southpaw from Florida. “He showed his inexperience and his youth by getting all emotional and out of whack approaching me and confronting me. Right there that tells me that his emotions got the best of him and now he's bit off more than he can chew.”
Kayode has pummeled his way through all those placed in front of him in the boxing ring. Now he faces a veteran who jus recently knocked out Australia’s Danny Green another powerful cruiserweight to grab the world title.
“If he thinks he's going to bring power to this fight, he's going to find out early that he's got another thing coming. He better have an A, B, C, D plan, because it's going to take more than one game plan to beat me, and just coming with power isn't going to do it, because I've felt power punchers before and I've knocked them out,” says Tarver, 43.
Kayode will have venerable trainer Freddie Roach in his corner for the fight. Tarver merely shrugs at their partnership.
“Freddie Roach is a great trainer but all he can do is give him water. I’m not fighting Freddie Roach,” muses Tarver.
Roach expects turbulence throughout the fight.
“(Antonio) is a Hall of Famer for sure and we know we have to beat guys like this to get to the top,” said Roach who trains Kayode at the Wild Card Boxing Gym.
Kid Chocolate and Winky
Another fighter out of the Wild Card gym is Quillen, a tall sinewy Cuban-American middleweight. In front of the chatty fighter will be another ring legend in Winky Wright.
“I never really said I was going to knock him out. When I say Pluto it's a metaphor for a place that we've never been to. He's never fought a fighter like me and I've never fought a fighter like him. The fans can expect a fight that they've never seen before,” said Quillen (26-0, 20 KOs).
Wright smiles at the attention given to his opponent.
“We're glad to get an opponent like Peter. I'm here to prove that I want to fight the best. I'm not coming back just to fight and get a win, I want to fight the best. I want to be champion. If I can't be champion there's no reason to do this,” said Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs) a former world champion. “He's young, hungry, tough and that's what I'm looking for.”
Other match ups
WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout of New Mexico fights hard-nosed boxer Delvin Rodriguez in an expected tug of war between talented by relatively unknown 154-pounders.
“Delvin is a world class fighter,” says Trout (24-0, 14 KOs). “This is the toughest fight of my life.”
Rodriguez also expects his toughest challenge.
“He's not just going to go there and fight just for the heck of it. I know that I have to be very focused. I'm facing someone that I know I can't make any mistakes (against) and I definitely cannot look past him,” Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs) said.
A battle for the vacant IBF bantamweight title features East L.A.’s undefeated Leo Santa Cruz (19-0-1, 11 KOs) against South Africa’s Vusi Malinga (20-3-1, 12 KOs).
“I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. I think it's my time to win this title,” said Malinga.
Santa Cruz knows very little about the South African boxer.
“He's a good fighter and he looks strong and he has a good uppercut. I've been learning how to block uppercuts,” Santa Cruz says. “Ever since I was a little kid my dream was to have the opportunity to win a world championship.”
Fights on television
Fri. NBC Sports, 6 p.m., Sechew Powell (26-4) vs. Gabriel Rosado (19-5).
Sat. Showtime, 10 p.m., Antonio Tarver (29-6) vs. Lateef Kayode (18-0); Winky Wright (51-5-1) vs. Peter Quillen (26-0); Austin Trout (24-0) vs. Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3); Leo Santa Cruz (19-0-1) vs. Vusi Malinga (20-3-1).
Sat. Telefutura, 11 p.m., Andrew Cancio (13-1-2) vs. Rocky Juarez (28-9-1).