Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs) defended his IBF junior welterweight world title in emphatic fashion, dominating the latter five rounds en route to an eighth-round TKO of Kendall Holt (28-6, 16 KOs). In the co-feature, Roman Morales (15-0, 8 KOs) had a fine introduction to television audiences at junior featherweight, scoring a sixth-round stoppage over feather-fisted Jesus Antonio Hernandez (10-1-3, 2 KOs) with a monster body shot.
For Lamont Peterson, this was as by-the-book as comeback fights go. After a 14-month layoff prompted by the controversy surrounding his positive test for synthetic testosterone after the Amir Khan fight, Teddy Atlas pointed out the obvious before this contest. Kendall Holt would have three rounds to try and punch through Peterson’s ring rust and score an early stoppage; if he were unsuccessful, Peterson would find his footing and begin to break down a guy who was not as strong mentally, getting to him for a stoppage in the later rounds.
You’d have thought Teddy Atlas had a time machine and just time-warped back from the future to call this fight. For three rounds, Holt controlled the action, landing a few good shots and building a lead on the scorecards. Your columnist, as well as Teddy Atlas, had it 30-27 for Holt after three, but the clock struck midnight on the story as the coach became a pumpkin.
Early in Round 4, Peterson landed a left hook that caught Holt’s attention and put him to the back foot. Later in the fourth, the first knockdown found its way onto the ledger, Tony Weeks counting to eight as Holt stood stunned by a monster of a straight right hand.
In the fifth, Holt began the cling-to-survive game, hanging on the ropes and trapping Peterson in the clinch the way a man traps a woman against the wall in a BDSM dominance play. The only problem was that in boxing, this is ironically a form of submission, a sign that Holt had no fight left in him. In point of fact, his corner should have just thrown the towel then and saved their guy a lot of damage.
Holt went down again in the sixth, earned only as much reprieve in the seventh as Peterson allowed him insofar as Peterson seemed like he had punched himself out temporarily, and then with about a minute left in the eighth, a succession of punches without reply (and with Holt looking utterly broken) finally led to the fight being called.
After the fight, Kendall Holt hinted that retirement may be his only option; his days as a force in the junior welterweight division are over. It’s hard to envision his ever challenging for a major world title again, so indeed it may be time to hang them up once and for all.
In the co-feature, we found out what happened when a guy with a gaudy record who can’t fight gets in against a real prospect. Roman Morales showed a lot of potential throughout the fight, controlling distance, imposing his will, and showing no respect at all for the mosquito-bite punches coming back at him. Not for nothing does Hernandez have only two KOs; it stands to wonder just how weak the chins were on the guys he stopped.
The co-feature was over in the sixth, as Morales uncorked a devastating hook to the body that was reminiscent of the one Micky Ward put on Alfonso Sanchez in the seventh round of their fight. There is no better knockout punch in boxing than the liver shot with the delayed reaction; it took a solid six seconds after the punch landed for Hernandez to hit the floor, but once he did, the ref could have counted to 50 and the result would have been the same. Morales has at least Rico Ramos’ ceiling; whether he reaches the Donaire/Rigondeaux level at 122 will depend on how well he corrects his flaws as he progresses through the junior featherweight ranks.
Next week, ESPN2 presents another title fight, this one at 126 pounds, as Billy Dib (35-1, 21 KOs) takes on Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) for the IBF featherweight title. MyBoxing will have complete coverage with a preview and recap of the night’s action. Stay tuned; we’re the worldwide leader in covering the Worldwide Leader.
Fox Doucette is Deputy Editor at MyBoxing. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays.