On February 22, Lamont Peterson defends his IBF 140-pound belt against former titleholder Kendall Holt. The 140-pound division is one of the hottest in the sport. Both of these guys sit on the fringes looking in and a win here could put the winner into the thick of a red-hot division. The question marks looming over this fight are numerous.
The champion Peterson had some well-publicized problems. A May 2012 rematch with Amir Khan was scrapped when Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone. He managed to keep one of his belts and now looks to get things back on the right track. But the damage has been done. His reputation is in the crapper and he’s been inactive since late-2011.
- Date: February 22, 2013
- Site: D.C. Armory, Washington, D.C.
- Weight Class: IBF Junior Welterweight Championship: 12 Rounds
Lamont Peterson, 30-1-1 (15 KOs), Washington, D.C.
Kendall Holt, 28-5 (16 KOs), Paterson, New Jersey
It makes it hard to get a good read on Peterson. Especially when one considers how he won the title--under highly dubious circumstances in D.C. against Amir Khan. It was Peterson’s last fight. Two strange point deductions levied against Khan tipped the scales in Peterson’s favor. He fought a helluva fight, but didn’t appear the winner. So where does he really stand?
Holt is another enigma. The guy can punch and is probably the biggest hitter at 140. Still, he has dropped 3 of his last 6. Again, his circumstances compel us to look between the lines. He lost to Tim Bradley in 2009, but his power kept him in the fight. He retired after 6 rounds with unexceptional Kaizer Mabuza. Then again, he knocked out the still-useful Julio Diaz in one of the best knockouts of 2011, and gave kingpin Danny Garcia a credible go. His power surfaced again in March 2012, when he dispatched of Tim Coleman in two rounds.
As far as how they stand on a relative scale of worth, you could say Peterson has the higher level of prestige at this point. The 29-year old has lost just once--in a gutsy decision loss to Bradley. Holt has been stopped 3 times. Peterson has lost to the best, whereas Holt has lost to lesser fighters along the way.
Holt, 31, seems a little ripe. He can still bring his power to bear against good fighters. Can he do it against the top guys? The verdict is unclear. Sure, he’s been inconsistent, but that’s the nature of the beast when dealing with big punchers. Holt has a reputation as a big slugger, but with 16 knockouts in 33 fights, he doesn’t always bring it to the table.
To his credit, Holt has caught some bad breaks along the way. The Torres loss was under circumspect conditions. He ran into Bradley and Garcia at precisely the wrong time, when those guys’ reputations were something less than their actual worth. He had an off-night in A.C. against Mabuza, but fighters are allowed to not be at their best and still be productive at a later date.
The match-up suits Holt to some degree. Peterson, while never stopped, has not shown an invulnerable chin. He was down against Bradley, twice against Victor Ortiz, and in his last fight against Khan. If anything, Holt can hit and he might be targeting Peterson’s chin with some extra urgency. Peterson, meanwhile, will be trying to outwork Holt, using his busy style to take rounds. He will need to be careful. You make one mistake with Holt and it’s a wrap.
If Holt is ever going to be a world champion again, here is his best chance. He’s fighting a champion in Peterson who has been out for 14 months and won the title under suspicious circumstances. But this fight is at the same site where Peterson won his belt, so Holt might not be poised to catch many breaks.
Peterson vs. Holt Prediction
Look for Holt to have some success with the big shots. Peterson, however, has shown an ability to rise from knockdowns. It’s iffy whether Holt’s power will be enough to stop Peterson, who will be aware of the danger and box accordingly. Despite a heightened level of caution, Peterson’s work-rate should carry the rounds. It’s a pick you can only make with a certain level of confidence, but look for Peterson to win a decision.
Prediction: Lamont Peterson by unanimous decision.