By Chris Cella
Paterson, NJ native Kendall “Rated R” Holt’s boxing career has been like a roller coaster at times; he has experienced the highs of raising the world title belt, and has felt the lows of being upset by opponents he should’ve rolled through, being criticized by the media, and outside the ring dealt with issues surrounding his former trainer’s involvement in money laundering and other more.
Following defeating Demetrious Hopkins via split decision and claiming the WBO light welterweight championship in 2008—which undoubtedly feels like a lifetime ago for the 31-year-old power puncher—Holt (28-5, 16 KO) lost his belt in a title unification bout with Timothy Bradley, and then went on to lose two title eliminator shots.
Since that night in Atlantic City, NJ when he captured the belt and felt on top of the world, Holt has gone 3-3, but next month has the chance to erase the disappointments of his past and once again taste the glory of holding a world title.
On February 22, as part of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Holt battles Lamont ”Havoc” Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO) for the IBF light welterweight world title.
About the fight, Holt shared with Boxing Insider, “I think it’s going to be a great fight. We are both coming to win. He’s the champion, and I’m an ex-champion, trying to get back to the top of the mountain. I’m working hard, training hard, and it should be a great fight.”
In a young man’s game and fighting within one of the most talented and stacked weight classes in all of boxing, Holt knows this opportunity against Peterson may be his last to shine on the big stage.
Kendall Holt earned this shot against Peterson because of his perseverance inside the ring and never say die attitude. Through his career he has never shied away from an opponent, and established himself as one of, if not the, hardest puncher in the division (just ask Timothy Bradley). But his inability to win a big fight (losing title eliminators against Kaizer Mabuza and Danny Garcia) has led critics and fans worldwide to question his heart and skill level.
Early last March—following the tough loss against Garcia—Holt bounced back with an easy second round victory over less than formidable opponent Tim Coleman, who tasted the canvas four times in two rounds before Coleman’s corner did the world a favor and throw the towel in.
So after a near year layoff and following successful shoulder surgery, time will tell what kind of Kendall Holt will emerge against Peterson. Will he be over anxious, and look to show his power and get caught early in the fight, or will he go to work like a veteran of the ringed arena and do what he has to do to exit with the belt, and line himself up for what may be the biggest payday of his career?
“After the surgery and over the past few months, I had a long talk with myself and my management team, Marcus Coats. We came up with a solution where we gotta step up to the big fights, and work even harder to win the big fights. I’m stronger and better than ever. I want to show everybody what I got left on February 22. I’m mentally ready, mentally strong, in the best shape of my life, and punching real hard. I know it’s gonna be a great fight.”
Lamont Peterson is the quality opponent that Holt needs to not only battle with, but come out as champion against. February 22 he will undoubtedly look to prove to the haters and the boxing world that Rated R time hasn’t quite expired just yet.