By Ryan Maquiñana
Mere moments after 42-year-old Antonio Tarver captured the IBO cruiserweight title by stopping Danny Green in nine rounds, the team for unbeaten WBA No. 1/WBO No. 3/IBF No. 5 Lateef "Power" Kayode let it be known that they want the “Magic Man” from Orlando next.
“I congratulate Antonio on his dominant victory,” said Freddie Roach, Kayode’s trainer. “He's a great fighter. He's proven like many great champions that age isn't always a factor when your heart still believes you've got more to give.”
Roach’s laudatory tone then transformed into a sobering one.
“But Danny Green isn't Lateef Kayode,” he continued. “That fight was between two vets in the sunset. A rising prospect versus a proven veteran would make a great fight, and for it to take place on American soil would be great for the division.”
The 28-year-old Kayode’s manager, Steven Feder, agreed, citing his Nigerian client’s recent wide points victory over Matt Godfrey in June to successfully defend his NABF belt and gain the vacant NABA strap.
“I'm a personal fan of Tarver, but this is business,” he said. “We have the ranking and we want the challenge. Lateef handled Godfrey's southpaw style and as everyone knows, styles make fights. Lateef and Antonio would be a great fight and I hope Showtime or HBO grabs this opportunity. It would be an action packed fight for fans. So to be clear, Tarver, we are waiting for your reply.”
Ryan Maquiñana is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. E-mail him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @rmaq28.