By John G. Thompson: Exciting cruiserweight Lateef Kayode 15-0 (14) squared off against Ed Perry 18-5-2 (11 KO’s) at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California broadcast live on Showbox: The New Generation. Also in action, Cuban born Luis Franco 8-0 (6 KO’s) opened the show against Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter 15-2 (8 KO’s) from Philadelphia.
Hunter earned the nickname “Outlaw,” landing multiple illegal shots throughout the fight and getting himself a disqualification. In his defense, Hunter was simply trying to do anything he could to change the momentum of a fight in which he was clearly outclassed. Hunter, to his credit, looked sharp and showed good speed and fundamentals. However, he faced a 2004 Olympian with more than four hundred amateur bouts. Franco’s speed and technical prowess proved too much for the fighter from Philly.
Franco came out aggressive in the first, backing up his opponent. Half way through the round Hunter landed the first low blow of the fight. Later in the round Hunter also landed an intentional looking headbutt. Franco landed a solid counter hook in the second after Hunter loaded up and missed with a shot. It seemed to hurt Hunter and Franco kept throwing, not giving Hunter time to recover. Perhaps for this reason, Hunter landed another intentional low blow, prompting referee John Shorley to deduct a point.
Hunter landed more low blows in the fourth round, earning stern warnings from Shorley. Hunter seemed to get a second wind and did a little better in the fifth round, landing an excellent left to the chin of Franco in the sixth. Regardless, Franco was still pitching a shutout on the score cards, outworking and backing up his opponent. In the eighth round Franco’s head collided with Hunter’s and Hunter reeled back in pain. Shorley took a point away from Franco, calling it intentional. Moments later Hunter landed another low blow and Referee Shorley stopped the bout. It should be said that Franco’s trunks did ride up on him during the bout and some of Hunter’s low blows were not as low as they appeared, however, the stoppage was just.
Lateef Kayode, who fights just a pound or two below the heavyweight limit as a cruiserweight, looks as technically sound as he is powerful. The Nigerian now living in Hollywood, CA and training at the Wildcard Gym with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, becomes more of an attraction with every fight. His last fight was a six round stoppage of the tough Epifanio Mendoza in October. His opponent Ed Perry had won eight straight, though all to fighters with losing records.
Kayode used his jab to the body of his opponent with success throughout the first and second rounds, also landing with the left hook. Perry picked up the pace in the third, landing a few of his own, though Kayode’s jab and combination punching earned him the round. In the fourth, Perry elected to trade with Kayode toe to toe and maybe even got the better during an exchange. Ringside commentator Steve Farhood said, “This round, both guys showing major league chins.” Later in the round, Perry took a knee after being hit with several head shots and then body shots. He tried to tell the referee that he had been hit low, but the referee started a count. Perry got up and was hit with multiple head shots before the end of the round.
Kayode had a huge round in the fifth, dominating the action with hard shots to Perry’s body. In the sixth, Kayode threw a five punch combination; two jabs missed, a right barely glanced Perry, but the left hook to the body which followed did so much damage that the hard right which followed seemed unnecessary. Perry tried to get up, but was not able. Kayode continues to look better and better in each fight.