By Ryan Maquiñana
Unbeaten cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode spoke to BoxingScene.com Friday night after learning that his previous opponent, Antonio Tarver, tested positive for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid. Tarver has since announced that he will appeal the result with the California State Athletic Commission.
BoxingScene.com: When you heard the news about Tarver’s positive test result, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
Lateef Kayode: I don’t want him to look like that. I mean, I looked up to him. I just feel sorry for this guy because he is a champion. I don’t want to see him give himself a bad name like this because I have respect for everything he has done in the ring. I know he has beaten a lot of world champions. I hope he hasn’t been doing this for his whole career. I just feel so bad for him and all the people who support him right now.
BoxingScene.com: The fight was first scored a draw, and now it’s a no-decision, according to the California commission. Do you think that’s the right move? How do you feel now with the way you acted after the decision, especially your postfight interview with Jim Gray?
Lateef Kayode: Look, everybody around the world knows I won the fight. It’s alright. I’m still happy with my performance. [About what was said] after the fight, I really apologize for what I did and what I said. The reason why I said that after the fight is because I was angry about what Tarver said. You’re saying you won the fight, that’s O.K., but be respectful. He said I was running away from him. He said he won every round. He said he was going to knock me out. I’m still here.
And now I find out he was cheating? It should not be a draw. He works for ShoBox, and even people at Showtime said I won the fight. That’s why I got angry, and I apologize. I let my emotions get in the way. To all of the people who don’t know me, who just saw that, or they say things about me for my accent, they don’t know the real me.
BoxingScene.com: Would you like to fight Tarver in a rematch, regardless of what has happened the past 24 hours?
Lateef Kayode: I would like to fight him again, but make sure he doesn’t use drugs. Even with the drugs, he couldn’t beat me, but if there are no drugs, I would fight him again. For my next fight, I will never let it get to the judges if I can.
People say I was not going to win the fight, but I did, and I’m happy with my performance. Whatever my body can do, that’s it. I sacrifice everything I have in the ring. I don’t understand putting something into my body if I train hard. I put everything in my belief in God and let him guide me in the ring.
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.