LATIN SNAKE AND KAYODE
What’s good Dougie?
And I’m not really all that high on Lateef “Power” Kayode, either. I think at any weight class, a fighter needs to develop ring intelligence. Despite having the ability to hurt his Tampa-based opponent (who did surprisingly well), Kayode didn’t cut off the ring, use any head movement when trying to close distance or utilize his jab (which is pretty good) much to set up any power shots.
I’ve seen Kayode train and worked out with him a few times over a year ago. Not much progression has been made since that time. Again, too bad. I don’t think he has the durability to go to war with the likes of another tough guy in Mario Huck (I’ve seen Lateef buzzed a few times at Wildcard) and also watched Ola Afolabi force him to fan all those who surrounded the first ring with air for three rounds.
What’s your take on the future for these two? — JB
Lateef is very much a work in progress. Like I stated in my Friday mailbag, I had yet to see anything from him to get excited about. However, I expected him to handle Iannuzzi without much problem. My apologies to Nicholas and his crew for writing the Floridian off. (By the way, I thought Iannuzzi’s corner did a good job keeping their man relaxed and motivated between rounds.)
In the Friday mailbag I said that if Kayode were to beat a fringe contender, such as BJ Flores or Matt Godfrey, I’d get excited. After Friday’s fight, which he was lucky to win, I think it would be a huge mistake for Kayode to get into the ring with either opponent in his next two or three fights.
I agree with all of your observations about Kayode’s technical flaws. And until he learns to set his power shots up with a good, consistent jab and cut the ring off he won’t advance. I’m not saying he won’t develop those skills. He’s only got 16 pro bouts and most of those fights were quickie knockouts. Perhaps all he needs are a few distance bouts. We’ll see.
I also agree with your observations of Mora’s style flaws. He needed to either move more or counter-punch more consistently when standing his ground. And whether he elected to stick-and-move or stand-and-counter, he needed more jabs. Whenever he did pop it, he caught Vera clean.
Three things need to happen with Mora:
1) He needs to get a head trainer that he respects enough to actually call his “head trainer.” If he talks to Cameron Dunkin, I’m sure his co-manager will suggest either Roberto Garcia or Ken Adams. Garcia is probably the better fit. Nobody asked me, but I would suggest Joe Goossen (if not a return to Dean Campos).
2) He needs to get serious. I also thought he seemed mentally “disconnected” at times during the Vera fight. I don’t know if he overlooked Vera or had other things on his mind and it doesn‘t matter. The fact is, he needed to treat that fight like it was a title bout. Just because the contracted weight was 163 pounds didn’t mean he had to weigh that heavy. I definitely thought he lacked his boxer’s edge. (The rumor along press row during Saturday’s Top Rank Live! card in Maywood, Calif., was that Mora was spotted at a strip club with co-manager Mike Miller the night before the Vera fight.)
3. He’s got to be willing to fight anyone next. The only way he’ll shut up his detractors is by proving them wrong and making them eat their words. To do that, he needs to fight someone that everybody thinks will kill him. Again, nobody asked me, but I would have him target James Kirkland once the Texas badass gets one or two comeback bouts under his belt.
I’m sure that seeing the next generation of fighters coming up in the local gyms and on club shows and watching their progression must be great for your perspective of the sport.
Has there been any fighter in particular that you have seen recently in the gym or on a club show that has really caught your eye?
The new layout of the website is really cool keep it up! Cheers. — Nicholas
Thanks Nicholas. We’ve got more than just a new layout. We’ve got new publishing tool that enables co-editor Michael Rosenthal and I to update the site a lot quicker than the old CMS (content management system), so you’ll see more breaking news items on RingTV.com this year than you did in 2009 and 2010.
I haven’t seen Donaire or Montiel in the gym recently. Donaire trains in San Francisco. Montiel trains in Los Mochis, Mexico. I trust that both bantamweights are training very hard and know their bodies well enough to peak on Feb. 19. I see the fight a lot like you do, with Donaire’s height, reach and speed controlling a bout that remains dangerous because of Montiel’s experience, timing and power.
I do plan on visiting a number of fighters currently training in the Southern California area, including Jesus Soto Karass (who fights Mike Jones in the HBO-televised co-feature to Montiel-Donaire), Brandon Rios (who has a tough assignment vs. lightweight titleholder Miguel Acosta on Showtime Feb. 26), Sergio Martinez and Sergei Dzinziruk (who fight on HBO on March 12), Ricardo Mayorga (who isn’t in So. California yet but I’m told he’ll train at Fortune Gym two weeks out from his March 12 fight with Miguel Cotto), Giovani Segura (who rematches with Ivan Calderon on April 2), and Abner Mares (who fights Joseph Agbeko on Showtime on April 23).
Regarding up-and-comers who have caught my eye in the gym and ring, there are too many to mention them all.
Here are some young fighters I’ve watched (on TV and live) in recent weeks and couple who will be showcased on basic cable (in the U.S.) in the next few weeks:
Heavyweight Andy Ruiz, who fought this past Saturday, is just a baby at 21 but I like his speed and combinations. He looks like a butterball but the kid can box and fight. If trainer Freddie Roach and the bilingual Mexican’s management keep him active, continue to get his weight down, and get him to move his head more, we might have something special in a few years.
Jessie Vargas, a 21-year-old junior welterweight who is trained by Roger Mayweather, is an entertaining blend of smart boxer and fearless pressure fighter. The Las Vegas resident also has good power. I bring him up because he headlines the first Fight Night Club show of the year, so I’ll get to call his fight against former lightweight contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz with broadcast partner Mario Solis.
Ismayl Sillakh, a 25-year-old light heavyweight from Ukraine, is a talented boxer-puncher that I’ve been high on the past two years. I’ve seen him dismantle the best cruiserweights and heavyweights on the Southern California gym circuit (including Ola Afolabi) but he’s been under the radar a bit because — apart from his impressive second-round TKO of Daniel Judah on the Hopkins-Jones rematch PPV last April — he hasn’t appeared on U.S. television. However, that will change when he takes on former Cuban amateur standout Yordanis Despaigne on ESPN2 on March 4.
And since much of this mailbag had to do with Sergio Mora, I feel that I should mention Vardan “Vito” Gasparyan, who gave the Latin Snake quality rounds of sparring in preparation for the Vera fight despite being a welterweight. The 24-year-old pressure fighter from Armenia is much better than his 12-2-5 record would indicate. He’s tough and relentless but also very smart and crafty. He’s the kind of fighter who can sneak up on and upset a hot prospect or fringe contender. He’s promoted by Don King and I’m not sure how connected or industry savvy his management is, so I don’t know when fans will get a chance to see Vito fight. However, if Gasparyan makes it onto a television broadcast any time soon you’ll see what I’m talking about. I consider him an “underground” prospect (kind of like my man Eloy Perez was prior to last year). He’s not a guy that most boxing writers are aware of (or care to write about if they do know who he is), which will only make his success even more enjoyable and inspirational when it happens.