Forgotten Fades – Kendall Holt vs Demetrius Hopkins

Kendall Holt is definitely a forgotten figure in boxing today. When he was active, he was in a lot of barnburners and hard fights. The first man to drop Tim Bradley, the two wars with Ricardo Torres, the close fight with Danny Garcia are some examples. He was a fun fighter to watch. There is one particular fight of his that I wanted to highlight for this article. The opponent is even more forgotten than he is even though he is related to one of boxing’s all-time great fighters. Demetrius Hopkins since the start of his career had been in the shadow of his uncle, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins. Demetrius was a fine boxer in his own right with underrated power even though his record did not indicate. He had really good wins over solid competition as he was coming up the ladder. His KO of Michael Warrick in particular was of the highlight reel variety. This fight came about due to the fact that Ricardo Torres got injured training for what would have been a trilogy between him and Holt. So, Hopkins was substituted in as the replacement. This worked out as Hopkins and Holt had history going back to their amateur days. Hopkins won all of their amateur meetings and Holt was looking for some get back. On the line was the WBO Super Lightweight Title of which Holt was making his first title defense live on ShoBox.

               The first round saw Hopkins keeping Holt in check, sticking him with a jab and moving. Not letting Holt get into any type of rhythm early. You could tell though that Holt had faster hand speed and was a little bit more explosive. In the second round, Holt started closing the gap more by leaping in and letting off fast combinations on Hopkins. You can tell Hopkins’s plan was not to engage in close quarters with someone with that hand speed on top of the power. The next couple of rounds saw Holt more or less imposing his will. Moving forward and throwing combinations with mean intentions with Hopkins staying in first gear but not making any adjustments to any offensive flurries outside of sticking and moving. The fifth round was in my opinion the most boring round of the fight. Hopkins was fighting very negatively, and you can see the frustration in Holt’s face as he tried to get him to engage. The generalship and jabbing Hopkins displayed was the clear-cut ex-factor.

Hopkins came out in the sixth round more offensive, landing a good left hand on Holt. Holt would also do the same thing. Both fighters squared up now and taking more chances with throwing combinations that have nothing but mean intentions. Holt would rock Hopkins to his core with a huge left hook in round seven forcing Hopkins to really clinch. Hopkins managed to recover but not enough to stop Holt from landing follow up combinations to the body and head. It seemed that the fight was beginning to get beaten out of Hopkins. Hopkins was arguably getting on his bike throwing jabs or jabs with his right hand behind it. His corner had been telling him to throw the uppercut at Holt, who was walking him down. However, by the end of tenth round, Holt’s stamina was starting to run empty. Hopkins decided to uptick his offense by jabbing and throwing his right hand more on a tired Holt. By this point, I would think that Hopkins would catch Holt with something and drop him. Holt was known to be a little chinny. Hopkins would throw and land a nice combination and then clinch to smother Holt’s work and somehow his as well. Holt was swinging for the bushes trying to land something. The crowd was definitely in it trying to will the fighters to do work in second gear. Unfortunately, neither man would find a canvas dropping shot at the final bell.

Depending on what you liked, the fight was close. In the end two of the judges favored the aggression shown by Holt who gave him the fight with scores of 117-111 and 116-112, while the other judge seemed to favor the ring generalship shown by Hopkins with a score of 115-113. Kendall Holt retained his WBO Super Lightweight Title via split decision for his maiden title defense. Hopkins, who took the fight on short notice, blamed his loss on ring rust and being off for so long. This would end up being his only world title fight in his whole career. Demetrius Hopkins would rebuild at 147 with a couple of more wins before being beaten again by a then undefeated Brad Solomon. A move to 154 would net him the USBA Super Welterweight Title before losing for a third and final time to Jermell Charlo. That fight was remarkably close though and he definitely gave a good account of himself. Hopkins then would be out of boxing’s spotlight for about a decade before giving a couple of interviews for YSM Sports Media in which he said he was blackballed by politics. He also mentioned wanting to get back in the ring as he had kept himself in shape.

For Kendall Holt, this would be his only successful title defense, as he would lose his belt in a unification fight against then WBC Super Lightweight Champion Tim Bradley. Holt would drop Bradley in rounds 1 and 12 but would be largely outworked in the rounds in between. He also was dealing with some legal issues surrounding his manager, who was brought up on drug charges. An upset KO loss in his first fight after losing the title to an unheralded Kaiser Mabuza would force him to rebuild. An impressive stoppage over former world champion Julio Diaz earned him a spot in the title eliminator against Danny Garcia. He would come up short via split decision. After an impressive win against one time prospect Tim Coleman, he was matched up against then IBF Super Lightweight champion Lamont Peterson. Peterson would stop him brutally in eight rounds. This would be the final fight of his career albeit with controversy as reportedly one of them popped dirty for the fight, but it was never acknowledged who it was in a bizarre turn of events. Holt seems to be doing well in his retirement, doting on his family and was inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. You could say both fighters might have come up a little short on their potential, but they had some memorable moments in the ring. Recommendation as a fight for people to check out.

Article written by Patscorpio

Sunny Edwards vs Jesse Bam Rodriguez Fight Report By King P

2023 was a momentous year for Boxing. Definitely enjoyed traveling to see all the fights around the country. It was such a momentous year; I did not want it to stop. But alas, all good things must end. This would be the final card I attended this year, but it is a great one to end the year. Bam Rodriguez vs Sunny Edwards was a fight I had been long waiting for, and it was great to see it live. I had never been to Arizona either, so it provided a great reason to head over. Warm weather and Boxing are a great combo. I arrived on Friday and was able to catch the weigh-ins. The formal weigh-ins were already completed, and all the fighters made weight. Apparently, Bam took a while to make his way to the scales. So, Sunny returned the favor by making everyone wait for the ceremony weigh-ins. Needless to say, the fans were not pleased and made their voices heard. This was a recurring theme throughout the weekend.

I got to the Desert Diamond Arena early so that I could catch all the fights on the card. The first fight started off with Alberto “Chop Chop” Gonzalez facing off against Alexis Molina. Gonzalez made quick work of Molina, living up to his nickname by chopping Molina down in only two rounds. The next fight was Joe McGrail vs Brandon Marquez. Another quick fight, as McGrail got Marquez out in three rounds. The next fight was a fight I was paying plenty of attention to: Junaid Bostan vs Gordie Russ II. Both are undefeated prospects getting matched against each other early. To make things even better, both parties engaged in a brawl after the Thursday afternoon press conference. Bostan was taunting Russ when they faced off on Friday for the weigh-ins. Constantly telling Russ “Be calm! Breathe!” But now the actual fight began, and they could settle it in the ring. Bostan had a good couple rounds to start off, boxing Russ very well. He was smiling and taunting the whole time. However, in the third round, they exchanged in close range, and Bostan was clipped. The smile left his face, and a look of concern replaced it. Bostan did a respectable job fighting back, but he was hurt badly. Afterwards, Bostan opted to move more while tagging Russ with hard shots occasionally. By the end of the fight, the volume decreased exponentially as Bostan opted to move and throw one hard shot at a time. At the end of eight rounds, the scorecards were read, and Junaid Bostan was declared the victor by UD (79-73 3x). The judges were very generous to Bostan as Russ did enough to win more rounds, but ultimately the right man won. The last fight on the undercard was Arturo Cardenas taking on Carlos Mujica. Cardenas battered Mujica, beating him up and overwhelming him with hard punches over four rounds before the corner decided to stop the fight.

The undercard fights ended early, giving us more than enough wait time in between. The main card started with Peter McGrail taking on Ja’Rico O’Quinn. O’Quinn was one of the fighters I watched in Detroit on the Baumgardner/Linardatou card. He did not look good in his previous fight, and I can see why McGrail picked him as an opponent. McGrail won every second of every round, thoroughly outboxing O’Quinn through four rounds. In the fifth round, everything continued the same, until O’Quinn connected with a right hand out of nowhere that put McGrail’s lights out. McGrail was down and out, as JaRico O’Quinn pulled off the shocking upset. O’Quinn in the post-fight talked about how he did not train at all for this fight, and how he was targeted because he was a cherry. Well, McGrail picked the wrong cherry, and was served a dose of poison for his troubles. Next fight was Galal Yafai taking on Rocco Santomauro. It was a very ho hum fight, with Yafai easily outboxing Santomauro over ten rounds of zero action. Santomauro had nothing for Yafai, and Yafai stayed in first gear. Was the antithesis of a crowd-pleasing fight. The co-main was Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev, coming off his first loss against Marlon Tapales to take on relatively unknown Kevin “Bomba” Gonzalez. Gonzalez certainly did not lack anything in the toughness department. He was hit with a lot of hard shots. In the fifth round, Gonzalez went down from a barrage of punches. He was able to get up and weather the storm, but the onslaught continued. After the sixth round, Gonzalez’s coach warned him he would stop the fight if it kept going on like this. It continued for a couple more rounds until it was stopped in the eighth round after Gonzalez was knocked down again.

Now for the main event: Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez vs Sunny Edwards is upon us. Sunny was getting booed every time he appeared on the jumbotron, and it continued when Sunny walked out to Dreams N Nightmares by Meek Mill. Sunny played the heel role to perfection, and now it is time to see if he can back it up in the ring. The fight started and Sunny was trying to figure out the right distance so he could get in and out on Bam. Bam had the longer reach and could pump out his jab from long range at will. By the end of the second round, there was a noticeable mouse over Sunny’s eye. Sunny did as best as he could to maintain distance while throwing combinations at Bam. But was able to walk Sunny down and light him up with 1-2s, while Sunny did his best to fight back. Halfway through the fight, Sunny realizes he would not be able to move around and counter, as he was clearly down on the cards. So, he made the decision to bite down and fight Bam on the inside, which was the worst-case scenario as it plays into Bam’s strengths. Going into the ninth round, Sunny’s corner wanted to stop the fight, but Sunny pleaded to keep the fight going. Sunny went out in the ninth and kept fighting. But at the end of the round, a sharp straight left dropped Sunny straight to the canvas. Sunny got up, but it was clear he could not see out of his eye and in no way could continue without the risk of serious long-term damage being done. At the end of the round, Sunny’s corner stopped the fight. Bam Rodriguez was declared the winner by TKO and is now the new unified Flyweight champion.

Sunny was taken to the hospital, and therefore not available for comments at the press conference. Bam and his trainer Robert Garcia were there to answer any questions asked. Bam basically said he is moving up to 115 and is open to any big fights up there. He mentioned once again that he was not willing to fight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. He did, however, say he would be extremely interested in fighting Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada, who apparently said he was not impressed with Bam’s performance against Sunny. We will see if this fight comes to fruition next year. Either way, it was a great fight and the night belonged to Bam. Wonderful way to end 2023. Here is to 2024 giving us great/exciting fights like this. Until next time…