By Ryan Maquiñana
Following the California State Athletic Commission’s decision to uphold Antonio Tarver’s one-year suspension for failing a drug test, rival cruiserweight Lateef Kayode’s manager Steven Feder expressed his opinion.
“The commission’s decision to uphold and the year suspension is of no surprise to me. I think they did the right things, but I never questioned whether they would or wouldn't,” Feder told BoxingScene.com Monday afternoon.
Tarver tested positive for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid, before his June 2 fight with Lateef Kayode in Carson, Calif., that ended in a controversial draw. After the positive test result, the outcome was changed to a no-contest.
“The Commission heard both sides of the issue and upheld Mr. Tarver's suspension,” CSAC executive officer Kathi Burns told RingTV. “It's well known that the Commission has among the toughest anti-doping standards in the world, and that we have zero tolerance for doping.”
Tarver was not only fined $2,500 out of his $1.1 million purse, but was suspended indefinitely by Showtime from his job as a color commentator. In addition, NBC replaced him in their New York studio with B.J. Flores for its Olympic boxing coverage earlier this summer.
“I think Antonio is a very talented guy,” Feder added. “He's always been respectful and I will continue to be in his corner as a friend. However, the pressure to perform not only destroyed what would have been a short-lived extension of his career at best, but more importantly, it tarnished his professional reputation as a commentator.
“I hope somehow he can resurrect his on-air career, because I think he is quite good at it and I would never want to see a man not be given the chance to provide for his family.”
As for Kayode, Feder has actively pursued a bout with Australian Danny Green, who will now fight Shane Cameron on Nov. 21 for the minor title belt vacated by Tarver. Feder expressed his frustration with the sanctioning body in question.
“This decision underlines the speculation that the ranking systems are worthless and should be completely revamped and monitored,” Feder said. “It can't just be me who thinks this is a travesty.
“Lateef Kayode should be ranked as the mandatory by the IBO, but it is clearly more financially beneficial for them to have Green fight as their fees are based on the percentage of the purse. I am sure that check will be ‘green’ on Green.”
In lieu of a title fight at 200 pounds, Feder mentioned chasing a heavyweight bout against Seth Mitchell.
“There is no question Seth is a great athlete and a worthy opponent,” Mitchell said.
“Against Tarver, Jon Jon Park’s team of strength and conditioning trainers did a fantastic job of getting Kayode ready, but his sculpted body doesn’t take on weight easily. Even if Kayode could gain the weight, would Al Haymon, who also manages Tarver, let his client put his obvious campaign for a Klitschko payday at risk?”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly 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.