Kendall Holt

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Kendall Holt
Holt after winning the WBO title, 2008
Nickname(s) Rated R
Rated at Light welterweight
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Reach 74 in (188 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1981-06-14) June 14, 1981 (age 35)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 34
Wins 28
Wins by KO 16
Losses 6

Kendall Holt (born June 14, 1981) is an American professional boxer who held the WBO junior welterweight title from 2008 to 2009.

Early life[edit]

Holt had a very tough upbringing in his native Paterson, New Jersey. He was raised by his father after a difficult childhood, which culminated with his mother Debra Holt being convicted of killing a homeless man, dubbed as a "thrill killing", during an evening of senseless violence and crime.[1] This was discussed as a feature before Holt's Showtime Championship Boxing bout with Timothy Bradley on April 4, 2009. Holt was taken from his father while he was young due to child abuse, and was put into foster care.

Professional career[edit]

Holt made his professional debut in 2001 and won his first 15 fights, before he fought Gilberto Reyes on March 26, 2004. Holt viciously knocked out Reyes with a counter left hook that froze his opponent for a split second before he crashed face first to the canvas.

The sensational knockout garnered Holt the status of a rising prospect in the welterweight division, but Holt was surprisingly knocked out by Thomas Davis on June 18, 2004, at the DePaul Athletic Center in Chicago, Illinois. Holt was dominating the first round, when Davis dropped Holt to the canvas with a straight right hand. Holt got up, but was on unsteady legs as Davis landed three more strong blows down the middle including another punishing right cross to the chin. Holt crumbled to the canvas for the final time as the referee stopped the fight.

Holt won his next two fights in New Jersey, before moving down to light welterweight to take on 1996 US Olympian David Díaz on February 4, 2005, at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Holt caught Díaz with a whip-like left hook to the head followed by a sharp right hand that dropped him in round one along with opening a cut around his right eye. Diaz finally found the range in the seventh round and floored Holt with two right hands to the head. Holt survived the knockdown and in the next round, stunned Díaz with a blistering five-punch volley of left hooks and right hands to the face. Diaz retreated on wobbly legs; however, Holt continued to unload with both hands and connected with another sharp flurry of shots. The referee had seen enough and stopped the fight, awarding Holt an upset technical knockout victory.

In his next fight, Holt fought Jaime Rangel for the vacant WBO Intercontinental light welterweight title on May 27, 2005, in Pompano Beach, Florida. Just before the bell to end the opening round, Rangel dropped Holt with a right hook to the jaw and a counter left cross. Holt was up at the count of two and was able to shake of the effects of the knockdown. Holt regained his poise and landed the harder cleaner shots for the rest of the evening. Despite that Holt had convincing won the fight, he had to settle for a split decision victory as one judge gave the fight to Rangel.

After defeating Vladimir Khodokovski by unanimous decision, Holt fought Isaac Hlatswayo for the vacant WBO NABO light welterweight title on November 3, 2006 at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Holt went on to drop Hlatshwayo in rounds nine, eleven, and twelve to win by unanimous decision.

Holt fought Mike Arnaoutis in a WBO light welterweight title eliminator on April 20, 2007, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Holt dominated almost all of the exchanges with Arnaoutis and eventually dropped him in the final round with a riveting right hand to the jaw en route to a unanimous decision victory. the victory made Holt the mandatory challenger for WBO junior welterweight champion Ricardo Torres.

Torres vs. Holt, controversy[edit]

Holt fought Colombia's powerhouse Ricardo Torres on September 1, 2007 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Holt was in command of the fight, knocking down Torres with a left-right combination in the sixth round. Holt was ahead of Torres on two of three scorecards entering the eleventh round, but Torres knocked down Holt with a vicious left hook, giving Torres a chance to make a comeback in the fight. As Holt got up, fans began hurling full beer cans, bottles, cans of soda, ice, and water into the ring. Holt tried to hold on, run, and get through the round without taking more punishment by Torres. As Holt did not throw any punch back, the referee, Genaro Rodriguez, decided to stop the fight, so Holt did not take any more unnecessary punishment.

After the fight, Holt claimed that after he knocked Torres down in the sixth round, he was hit in the head with loaded beer cans. Tapes of the bout support that claim. He also claimed that someone in Torres' corner reached through the ropes and grabbed Holt's leg during the eleventh round. Holt had a heated exchange with Rodriguez after the fight when they met in the Barranquilla Plaza Hotel. Holt shouted obscenities at Rodriguez for not giving a break in the action due to fans throwing objects in the ring, making the surface slippery. Darren Antola, Holt's cut man, was hit with a beer can to the back of his head as he prepared to head to the airport for his flight back to New Jersey. Ashema Evans, Holt's girlfriend, suffered a cut on her leg when fans began toppling tables in the VIP section to bum rush the ring.[2]

Later, Bob Arum of Top Rank, declared that Torres clearly won the fight and that Holt's claims are ungrounded. Billy Chams of Cuadrilátero stated in a press release that "The environment never turned dangerous, as Kendall Holt and his representatives seemed to imply to the press when they arrived to Miami last Sunday. They merely misinterpreted and confused an emotional and excessive joy display of the crowd that watched how his champion, after being closely behind in the scorecards, turned the fight over in round eleven and knocked down Holt. He was in a very bad shape and the referee acted wisely stopping the fight." [3]

Patrick English, Holt's attorney, was bewildered by Arum’s evaluation of the controversial conclusion to the light welterweight title fight. “I’m very disappointed in (Arum) choosing to involve himself in this, mostly because he involved himself in a way that is inaccurate,” English said regarding Arum’s statements.[4]

On September 18, 2007, The Kendall Holt camp completed a formal protest of the fight. The protest includes 35 pages of documentation including certifications by Holt, manager Henry Cortes and boxing writer Keith Idec, a report by Commissioner Larry Hazzard Jr., still photos, and video evidence.[5] On October 5, the WBO denied Holt's request for a reversal of the loss, citing that only the Colombian Boxing Commission can make such a ruling. The WBO also denied Holt's request for an immediate rematch, but kept him high in the rankings in order to land another title shot.[6] This set up a rematch with Torres.

Return to the ring[edit]

In his first appearance since the fight with Torres, Holt fought Ben Tackie on February 7, 2008, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Holt stayed away by using his movement as Tackie was unable to get off with his punches. He tried, but was just too slow for the much quicker Holt. Holt took no chances, as he stayed away and landed three-punch counters to every one-punch of Tackie. Holt went on to win by majority decision.

Torres vs. Holt II[edit]

On July 5, 2008, at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Holt and Torres faced off in a rematch that lasted just 61 seconds. The round was described by as the front runner for Round of the Year. Just 13 seconds into the fight, a right hand by Torres had Holt down on the canvas. Holt recovered but found himself on the canvas for the second time just seconds later. Holt got up and, while being castigated by Torres in the corner, managed to connect with a left hook and knocked Torres out. [7] An accidental clash of heads immediately preceded the knockout, however, and some attributed that to the knockout instead of the punch Holt threw.

Holt vs. Hopkins[edit]

With controversy again surrounding their fights Holt and Torres signed for a rubber match, which was to be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on December 14, 2008 and televised on ShoBox. However, a week before the fight Torres pulled out due to illness and Holt instead fought the undefeated Demetrius Hopkins. Holt won the fight by split decision (116-112, 117-111, and 113-115).

The win set up a title unification match between WBO champion Holt and WBC super lightweight champion Timothy Bradley.

Holt vs. Bradley[edit]

Holt and Bradley squared off in the unification bout on April 4, 2009 in Montreal's Bell Centre. Holt knocked Bradley down in the first round and the twelfth round, but Bradley won a majority of the rounds in between and took a unanimous decision win (115-111, 114-112, and 115-111) to take Holt's WBO championship.[8] In a post-fight interview Holt said he felt that he had not done enough to win the fight and called for a rematch, but as of 2014 it has not happened and Bradley has since moved out of the light welterweight class and is currently fighting at welterweight.


On March 10, 2010, Holt fought Kaizer Mabuza in an IBF-title eliminator and entered as the favorite. Mabuza, however, controlled the fight from the start and Holt retired on his stool after six rounds.

In his next fight Holt knocked out Lenin Arroyo in one round and followed that up with a knockout of former lightweight champion Julio Diaz in three. This set up a fight with undefeated Danny Garcia as part of an HBO pay-per-view card featuring a fight between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson as the main event, with the NABO junior welterweight championship at stake. Holt lost by split decision.

After defeating his next opponent Holt fought IBF champion Lamont Peterson on February 22, 2013, and was knocked out in eight rounds. He has yet to return to the ring.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
34 fights 28 wins 6 losses
By knockout 16 4
By decision 12 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
34 Loss 28–6 United States Lamont Peterson TKO 8 (12), 1:42 Feb 22, 2013 United States D.C. Armory, Washington, D.C., U.S. For IBF light welterweight title
33 Win 28–5 United States Tim Coleman TKO 2 (10), 2:23 Mar 15, 2012 United States Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, California, U.S.
32 Loss 27–5 United States Danny García SD 12 Oct 15, 2011 United States Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S. For vacant WBO Inter-Continental light welterweight title
31 Win 27–4 Mexico Julio Díaz TKO 3 (10), 2:37 May 13, 2011 United States Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez, California, U.S.
30 Win 26–4 Costa Rica Lenin Arroyo TKO 1 (8), 1:50 Jan 29, 2011 United States Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
29 Loss 25–4 South Africa Kaizer Mabuza RTD 6 (12), 3:00 Feb 27, 2010 United States Bally's, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Loss 25–3 United States Timothy Bradley UD 12 Apr 4, 2009 Canada Centre Bell, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Lost WBO light welterweight title;
For WBC light welterweight title
27 Win 25–2 United States Demetrius Hopkins SD 12 Dec 13, 2008 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBO light welterweight title
26 Win 24–2 Colombia Ricardo Torres KO 1 (12), 1:01 Jul 5, 2008 United States Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won WBO light welterweight title
25 Win 23–2 Ghana Ben Tackie MD 10 Feb 7, 2008 United States Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24 Loss 22–2 Colombia Ricardo Torres TKO 11 (12), 2:24 Sep 1, 2007 Colombia Salon Jumbo del Country Club, Barranquilla, Colombia For WBO light welterweight title
23 Win 22–1 Greece Mike Arnaoutis UD 12 Apr 20, 2007 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
22 Win 21–1 South Africa Isaac Hlatshwayo UD 12 Nov 3, 2006 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won vacant WBO–NABO light welterweight title
21 Win 20–1 Ukraine Volodymyr Khodakovskyy UD 10 Nov 3, 2006 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
20 Win 19–1 Colombia Jaime Rangel SD 12 May 27, 2005 United States Club Cinema, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. Won vacant WBO Inter-Continental light welterweight title
19 Win 18–1 United States David Díaz TKO 8 (10), 2:26 Feb 4, 2005 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.
18 Win 17–1 Mexico Carlos Antonio Escobar UD 6 Dec 9, 2004 United States Robert Treat Center, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
17 Win 16–1 Colombia Roberto Ortega UD 6 Oct 14, 2004 United States Robert Treat Center, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
16 Loss 15–1 United States Thomas Davis TKO 1 (8), 2:59 Jun 18, 2004 United States DePaul Athletic Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 United States Gilberto Reyes KO 1 (8), 2:23 Mar 26, 2004 United States Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, Miami, Florida, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States John Trigg MD 8 Dec 6, 2003 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 United States Norberto Frias KO 3 (6) Oct 24, 2003 United States Fernwood Resort]], Bushkill, Pennsylvania, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Richard Best TKO 2 (4), 1:53 Apr 25, 2003 United States Thunderbird Wild Wild West Casino, Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Cardyl Finley TKO 2 (6) Mar 15, 2003 United States D.C. Armory, Washington, D.C.
10 Win 10–0 United States Andriy Trunov UD 6 Nov 7, 2002 United States Hilton, Washington, D.C., U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Kevin Carter TKO 1 (6), 2:59 Oct 11, 2002 United States Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Norberto Frias UD 6 Jul 12, 2002 United States Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Rashaan Abdul Blackburn TKO 5 (6) Apr 20, 2002 United States John F. Kennedy High School, Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Curtis Wilkens TKO 3 (6), 2:40 Mar 3, 2002 United States Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Matt Hill TKO 2 (4), 1:49 Dec 14, 2001 United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Marcus Luck PTS 4 Oct 26, 2001 United States Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Marat Sunyuntaev KO 2 (4) Jun 26, 2001 United States USS Intrepid (CV-11), New York City, New York, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Jonathan Kuhn TKO 1 (4) Apr 20, 2001 United States Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Frank Zorchak KO 1 (4) Mar 30, 2001 United States Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Professional debut

Troubles outside the ring[edit]

Holt's manager, Henry Cortes, became embroiled in legal troubles over drug deals he helped facilitate. Cortes was arrested in February 2009 on charges relating to those deals. Although Holt had not been implicated in those charges, he pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in April 2009 and admitted he had delivered money to Torres knowing that they were from drug transactions brokered by Cortes. Holt was put into a pretrial intervention program, with the expectation that the charges would be dropped upon completion.[9] Holt successfully completed that program and the charges were dismissed.


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Muhammad Abdullaev
WBO Inter-Continental junior welterweight champion
May 27, 2005 – March 2006
Title next held by
Arturo Morua
Title last held by
Mike Arnaoutis
WBO–NABO junior welterweight champion
November 3, 2006 – January 2007
Title next held by
Henry Bruseles
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Ricardo Torres
WBO junior welterweight champion
July 5, 2008 – April 4, 2009
Succeeded by
Timothy Bradley