Rocky Balboa’s conqueror, Antonio Tarver, ekes out draw with Kayode

Antonio Tarver should have hung-up his gloves after beating Rocky Balboa.

IBO cruiserweight champion “The Magic Man” Antonio Tarver eked out a controversial draw with Nigerian “Power” Lateef Kayode to retain his belt last night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

After a sluggish start, Tarver (29-6-1, 20 KOs), a decent pugilist mainly known for beating Roy Jones and the fictional Rocky Balboa as Mason “The Line” Dixon, rallied to score a debatable tie.

Tarver, who didn’t make his debut as a professional until the advanced age of 28, is in the twilight of his career.

Nevertheless, the delusional “Magic Man” remains determined to land a heavyweight title bout against a Klitschko brother.

“I beat this guy in every aspect,” said Tarver, 43, who works as an analyst for Showtime. “I dictated every round. I hit him with clean shots all night long. He was sloppy, just like I said he was. He was just slapping and never landing. I swept him after the sixth round. From the sixth to the 12th, it was a shutout. I was slow to start. That’s all he had on me.”

Unsurprisingly, Lateef was outraged by the decision and “Power” suggested they plan a rematch on HBO.

“Everybody knows I won this fight,” said Kayode, 29, who learns from four-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach of Dedham, Massachusetts. “I am a strong man. I came to fight. Power is my name, and I did my job. I am better than him. He won because he works for Showtime. Let’s go to HBO.”

“The Magic Man,” a southpaw from Orlando who earned a bronze medal as a light heavyweight at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, is a prime example of the Golden Girls circuit sometimes known as boxing.

“For a lot of these guys, boxing is all they know and it’s the only way for them to make money,” said Ed LaVache, the owner of the Boston Boxing Club in Allston. “So, they keep fighting until the fight is lost in them.”

Antonio Tarver couldn’t even compete with either indomitable Ukrainian legend and, for his own safety, “The Magic Man” badly needs to realize “the fight is lost in” him.

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