Last year, HBO broadcaster Larry Merchant made himself somewhat of a cult hero when, following Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz, he told the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, "If I was 50 years younger, I'd kick your ass."
Merchant, of course, was 80 when he let Mayweather know what he thought of him after the fighter insulted him.
Kayode must have been watching. The cruiserweight prospect was unhappy with the commentary Tarver, 43, provided for Showtime during one of his fights.
As a result, on June 2, the two will fight as part of a quadruple-header on Showtime, with Kayode, 29, vowing to knock Tarver out.
Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) is bemused by Kayode's antics. His ultimate goal is to move to heavyweight and get a crack at the belt held by Wladimir Klitschko, but he's willing to teach Kayode (18-0, 14 KOs) a lesson in the interim.
As the veteran and former world champion, Tarver admits the burden is on him.
"We have a storyline here: a young guy who took offense to what I was saying as a commentator," Tarver said. "I was just doing my job. I think the youth, the inexperience got the best of him. He's got his handlers saying that he's ready to roll the dice. But you've got to respect his position. He's a young fighter coming up that has nothing to lose.
"So Kayode is in a beautiful position, and if he loses to me, what has it done? It's going to set him back a little bit but he can regroup. I can't regroup if I lose to Lateef Kayode. There would be an asterisk and a question mark by my name, and we can't have that."
Tarver acknowledged Kayode's power and his high knockout percentage, but he's been in with some of the best punchers in the sport and has never been knocked out.
He's not expecting Kayode to begin a trend.
"I've fought a lot of strong guys who didn't get lucky, who couldn't hit me, couldn't find me," Tarver said. "So he's coming in here trying to get lucky. I'm coming in here to rely on my skills, my experience and my conditioning to win this fight. I'll take Kayode places he's never been, and that's in deep waters. He's never been in there with a fighter like me and I'm going to show him what it's all about."