By Ryan Maquiñana
Immediately after his cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode earned a controversial draw with Antonio Tarver, he wanted to make amends for his postfight comments but reiterated his feelings about the outcome.
“I want to apologize for everything I said to Showtime after the fight,” Kayode told BoxingScene.com. “I let my emotions get in the way, but again, I won the fight. Everyone saw it.”
Kayode's manager, Steven Feder, was much more vocal about Saturday night’s events.
“Tarver’s team knew they were going to lose,” Feder said. “About 48 hours before the fight, they wanted an immediate rematch clause if Tarver lost. They knew they were going to lose. I said, ‘Sure if it was mutual. You don’t even have to name the price. If you want to make it fair, make it mutual.’ ”
“[Tarver’s advisor] Al Haymon got a hold of [Gary Shaw Productions matchmaker] John Beninati then Beninati got a hold of me. They offered a one-way rematch clause. I sent them an e-mail with a counter-offer for a mutual rematch clause. They didn’t respond and they turned down my offer after I turned down theirs.”
Feder then turned his attention to his displeasure with the two judges’ scorecards—one that had Tarver winning and the other an even tally.
“You think that was a draw?” he asked. “Lateef hurt him with everything. Tarver knows he didn’t deserve that belt. I don’t know Al Haymon. I don’t have any disrespect for him. Whatever he’s got going, it’s working, but I don’t know they can sleep at night. I am grateful to Showtime, but I don’t know what the judges were watching.
“You got a 43-year old throwing everything he could at. We took the first five rounds straight. We split the rest, and we lose? This is what’s wrong in the sport. Tarver knows bit off more he can chew. He ate punches. His eye was all swollen, and if he thought he won the fight, then he wouldn’t come forward all desperate in the 12th. But you know what? I’m proud of my kid. He could’ve gone another two or three rounds if he had, too. He grew up in there.”
In his postfight interview with Jim Gray, an infuriated Kayode unleashed a verbal tirade against Showtime. Kayode wondered aloud if Tarver kept his fringe cruiserweight title belt because he has worked as an announcer for the network, even suggesting they do the rematch on rival premium cable channel HBO.
“Apparently [Showtime Sports head] Stephen Espinoza is really upset about what Lateef said, but it was an emotional moment,” Feder said. “It was like [Floyd] Mayweather saying something to Larry Merchant. He loves all those guys at Showtime like Gordon Hall.
“They’ve all been great to us. It’s the network where Lateef grew up. But if that’s how they feel, there’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t think for a second that Showtime had an outcome on the fight. It was an emotional reaction of a kid in the heat of the moment.”
Feder then commented on what he plans to do next with Kayode.
“His next move?” Feder asked. “I don’t know. He’ll take a rest and we’ll talk about it. But Tarver doesn’t want a rematch. No way.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.