Tarver and Trout Retain World Titles, Santa Cruz Joins the Pack
By Liz Q. Parr
CARSON, CALIF.-The fight I was dying to watch as soon as I heard the match up was going to happen, Antonio Tarver (29-6-1, 20 KOs) and Lateef Kayode (18-0-1, 14 KOs) faced off after heated back and fourth comments.
At the ring of the first bell I was on the edge of my seat waiting for one of the heavyweights to knock the other out but I ended up waiting and it never happened.
Kayode was on the attack the first half of the fight while the much more experienced Tarver did nothing. It looked as though Tarver was waiting to land that one solid punch that would put Kayode to sleep but he didn't put in enough work for it to happen. Kayode flicked out his jab to Tarver's face and right hand to the body after, quite often but fumbled over his bad foot work and never really dazed Tarver. Kayode managed to land some solid right hands in the fourth round.
As the fight went on Tarver began to land more and more punches while dodging Kayode's jabs. In the eighth round Tarver with his left hand stance, landed a straight left that sent Kayode to the ropes. A few times Tarver stunned the much younger fighter but never put him down. The fight was up in the air in the last couple of rounds but neither fighter pressed hard enough to win the fight. Judges scored a split draw on scores of 114-114, 115-113 Tarver, and 115-113 Kayode.
Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) finished Winky Wright (51-6-1, 25 KOs) tonight but Wright was not going away easily. Wright held his own but it was obvious that Quillin's punches were much quicker and faster than that of his opponent. Wright wasn't really able to put many of his punches together while Quillin landed several combinations.
About a minute into the fifth round as the fight was getting exciting Quillin landed a straight right hand to Wright's face that floored him, the referee gave him the eight count, and he got up to continue. Quillin came forward without smothering himself and attacked the body and the round was over. Wright continued until the fight was over, he put in his work but none of his punches caused any damage. Quillin threw uppercuts, body shots, and dodged punches at will. Judges scored the fight in favor of Quillin 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91
Undefeated WBA super welterweight titleholder Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) fought Delvin Rodriguez (26-6-3, 14 KOs) in a twelve round match that wasn't very exciting. Trout retained his title by staying active, moving around, and landing the cleaner shots. Judges score the fight 120-108, 118-110, 117-111 in favor of Trout
Leo Santa Cruz
Leo Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 KOs) clashed with Vusi Malinga (20-4, 12 KOs) in the first championship fight of the night for the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Santa Cruz from the beginning bell was working his opponent and keeping his hands to block most of Malinga's punches. Both fighters fought really well on the inside and Malinga landed some good left hooks but Santa Cruz worked his hooks as well to the head and the body.
Malinga stepped up his game because it looked like he felt that he might be behind but Santa Cruz continued to stick his punches to Malinga's face and work the body. Santa Cruz kept his guard up the entire time and constantly used his stiff jab.
In the eighth round he hurt Malinga with a right hand body shot and instead of losing control he just kept working Malinga. For someone looking for their first world title Santa Cruz couldn't have done a better job. Judges scored the fight 119-109 and 120-108 twice for the new IBF bantamweight champion of the world.