By Ryan Maquiñana
Freddie Roach, trainer of cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode, is targeting Australia’s Danny Green for the fall.
“It’s the perfect fight for us,” the Hall of Fame cornerman told BoxingScene.com. “[Antonio] Tarver took Green’s belt. He feels like he deserves a shot, and we’re the ones to give it to him.”
Green (31-5, 27 KOs), now 39 years old, is coming off consecutive stoppage losses to Tarver and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk but is still a draw Down Under. Roach is very familiar with Green, who once went to war with James Toney in an infamous 2004 sparring session at the trainer’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
“Green's a puncher which works in our favor,” Roach added. “He'll be tough in the early rounds. Lateef proved his power can overcome his lack of experience. He controlled Tarver and he'll be too much for Green at this stage in Danny's career. We'll make some adjustments from the last fight and knock him out.”
The 29-year-old Kayode (18-0-0-1 NC) is coming off a controversial draw with Tarver last month for that same fringe cruiserweight title that was annexed from Green. Following the bout, BoxingScene.com broke the news that Tarver tested positive for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid.
After the California commission ruled the contest a no-decision, Tarver released a statement saying that he would appeal the result.
The clash initially gained notoriety following Kayode’s verbal tirade during the postfight interview, one that infuriated Showtime Sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza so much that he vowed the Nigerian would not be appearing on his network anytime soon. Like his embattled previous foe, Kayode has offered an appeal of his own.
“I want to fight Green,” Kayode said. “I am already back in the gym. Mr. Espinoza said he accepted my apology so I hope that Showtime will let me fight on their network. I want to become world champion on Showtime.”
With Tarver likely on the shelf until the matter of the failed drug test is resolved, Kayode’s manager Steven Feder would like his fighter to stay active against a common opponent.
“Assuming the IBO comes back with the judgment that Lateef is going to regain the number one spot, what better guy to fight than Danny Green, a guy who feels like he was robbed against Tarver for that title?” Feder asked.
“I connected with [promoter] Gary Shaw and [matchmaker] John Beninati last night, and they both agree this should be the next fight. Green made a comment that he figures Tarver was on steroids when they fought. Well, Green can feel comfort in knowing Kayode fights clean so there will be no excuses when we win.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.