The tempo of a bout is usually set by one fighter. Tempo is something which you want to be in control of.
Tempo and work rate go hand in hand together. It is quite difficult to have a high work rate at a slow tempo.
Tempo is not just output with shots, but also proactivity such as footwork, feinting etc. Proactivity results in potential openings & opportunities which being passive does not.
The proactive side in theory, should always be that one step ahead of a side who is passive, even if that one step equates to half a second.
Of course, if you are comfortable at working at a higher tempo because it’s your style and how you always train, this gives you a distinct advantage against an opponent who is not comfortable at a higher tempo.
After all, the objective of sparring is to play to your strengths. Usually the person who can dictate the bout towards the strengths of their particular skill set will have a greater advantage, regardless of the overall ability of each participant.
Tempo control, therefore is an important aspect of swinging any bout in your favour.