Tarver, Kayode end up in a draw

Antonio Tarver promised to teach undefeated cruiserweight Lateef Kayode some tricks Saturday night and that he did putting on a strong performance.

And in the end it was somewhat of a victory for the 43-year-old even though he came out with a draw against 29-year-old Kayode.

The main event was played out before a two-thirds-filled tennis center at Home Depot Center mostly cheering for Tarver.

Judges Max Deluca had it 115-113 for Kayode, while David Denkin saw it 115-113 for Tarver. Dave Moretti didn’t break the tie, instead declaring it a tie with a 114-114 score.

Tarver had his moments, mostly in the second half of the fight as Kayode won the first half of the fight.


The fight was billed as somewhat of a grudge match after Tarver (29-6-1), a Showtime commentator, criticized Kayode (18-0-1), saying he had several areas in which he could improve. Tarver promised to teach Kayode some things and it was clear he used a few almost late, barely legal hits as tactics to get into Kayode’s head.

In the co-main event, Winky Wright, trying a comeback after a three-year layoff at age 40, didn’t look bad but he didn’t look like the fighter most would like to remember. It wasn’t like he had chosen an easy opponent in Peter Quillin, now undefeated in 27 fights.

The judges gave the 10-round decision to Quillin by scores of 98-91, 98-91 and 97-92.

Quillin got a knock down in the fifth round with a right that stunned Wright, had him stagger a few steps back before landing on his seat. Quillin started to dominate in the sixth with wicked combinations that foreshadowed the outcome.

Quillin almost put Wright (51-6-1) down in the eighth with an uppercut followed by flurries that left Wright covering up. But Wright’s legs defied his age.

Perhaps Wright should have considered a lesser payday against an easier opponent but some occasional flurries did excite the crowd.

“He definitely won the fight,” Wright said. “No doubt at all. He fought a good fight and came prepared. I think I need to be at 154 [pounds] if I fight again.”

Meanwhile, it seems the only struggling Quillin did was with his celestial geography.

“The sky’s the limit,” Quillin said. “This time we went to Pluto, next time we go to Jupiter.”

In one of the other featured bouts, Austin Trout defended his WBA super-welterweight title against Delvin Rodriguez (26-6-3) for his 25th win. One judge generously had the Las Cruces, N.M., fighter winning all 12 rounds. The other judges had him winning 10 and nine rounds.

“I probably give myself a 61/2 or 7,” Trout said. “I don’t think it was my best performance but I got the W and di what I had to do to win.”

In another title fight, Leo Santa Cruz, adorned in trunks half the U.S. and Mexican flags, remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision overSouth Africa’sVusi Malinga. Santa Cruz continually pounded the body in the extremely one-sided fight.

Santa Cruz, listed as fighting out of Los Angeles, hadn’t fought in the U.S. since 2010, instead going to Mexico for his fights. If it was any consolation for Malinga, he broke a string of nine straight knockouts for Santa Cruz (20-0-1).

“I’m surprised he didn’t go down because I saw in another fight he had flaws,” Santa Cruz said. “But he prepared himself to win. I prepared harder.”