Former Light Heavyweight World Champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (29-6-1, 20 KO’s), age 43, and unbeaten 29-year-old Lateef Kayode (18-0-1, 14 KO’s) fought to a 12-round draw while 28-year-old Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) took out 40-year-old former undisputed 154-pound champion Winky Wright (51-6-1, 25 KOs) by unanimous 10-round decision in the final two of four televised fights from The Home Depot Center.
Austin “No Doubt” Trout” (25-0, 14 KOs) and Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 KOs) both registered impressive unanimous victories in the first two televised fights.
Kayode, who had graduated from ShoBox to the big stage and was fighting in his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING bout, controlled the fight early on leaving Tarver to rally in the latter rounds. Tarver and Kayode each took a 115-113 score from different judges, with the third calling it 114-114.
“From the sixth round on I showed I still had it,” said Tarver, who resides in Tampa, Fla. “I put my punches together and I won down the stretch. We are going to stay busy and take a week off, but then get back in the gym.”
SHOWTIME expert analyst and noted boxing historian Steve Farhood was impressed with Kayode and his technical style. “It was a close fight and Antonio clearly controlled the second half of the bout but gave away a lot of the early rounds,” Farhood said after the fight. ”Kayode fought better technically than he has in a lot of his ShoBox fights.”
“Everyone knows I won this fight,” said Kayode, of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Nigeria. “I’m better than him.”
In a middleweight featured attraction, Quillin took out Wright by unanimous 10-round decision, 98-91 twice and 97-92.
Quillin, from New York City, just proved too quick and elusive for Wright, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who was fighting for the first time in three years and two months. Wright was knocked down by an impressive and powerful right hand to the head in the fifth round.
“I prepared for a 21-year-old Winky Wright and at times he fought like that,” Quillin said. “You can see from my face that I didn’t take a lot of punishment tonight.”
Said Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein during the telecast, “I agree with Steve Farhood – Wright might have been better off taking an easier tune-up fight in his comeback before taking on Kid Chocolate.”
Trout, from Las Cruces, N.M., successfully defended his 154-pound WBA world title with a unanimous decision victory over Delvin Rodriguez of Danbury, Conn., (26-6-3, 14 KOs). The judges scored the fight 117-111, 118-110, 120-108 with Trout outworking Rodriguez and landing 22 percent of his 699 punches in the 12-round battle.
“I did what I had to do to get the win,” Trout, 27, told SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray after the fight.
In the opening bout of the telecast, bantamweight Santa Cruz captured the vacant IBF belt with a unanimous 12-round decision over the IBF No. 1 contender Vusi Malinga (20-4, 12 KO’s), of Johannesburg, South Africa. The 23-year-old Mexican-born Santa Cruz, of Lincoln Heights, Calif., dominated the fight and won by scores of 120-108 twice and 119-109 while throwing an amazingly high 1,350 punches on the night.
Boxers Victor Ortiz, Canelo Alvarez, Sugar Shane Mosley, Abner Mares, Devon Alexander and more took in the rare four-fight telecast ringside. Other notables spotted in the crowd on the night were Los Angeles Lakers star Metta World Peace and rapper 50 Cent.
In an exciting bout aired live on SHOWTIME EXTREME between top super middleweights, Sakio Bika (30-5-2, 20 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, stopped Dyah Davis (21-3-1, 9 KOs), from Coconut Creek, Fla., in the final round (at 1:40) of a scheduled 10-round fight.
In another undercard bout featuring a ShoBox alum, unbeaten lightweight contender Sharif “The Lion” Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs) from Las Vegas by way of Uganda, registered a technical knock out over Manuel Leyva (21-6, 12 KOs) from nearby Downey, Calif., in the second round (0:38) of a scheduled 10-round bout.
The night of fights will air on replay on SHOWTIME EXTREME Tuesday, June 5, at 10 p.m. ET / PT and will be available On Demand from Sunday, June 3 through July 1.
Gus Johnson called the action on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING with Al Bernstein serving as expert analysts. Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood announced the fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME. Jim Gray served as ringside reporter. David Dinkins Jr. was the Executive Producer with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.