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