Lamont Peterson returns on ESPN Friday Night Fights to defend his IBF junior welterweight title against Kendall Holt tomorrow night. Who leaves with the trinket?
This would be a good and interesting matchup at just about any time, but given the circumstances, it becomes perhaps even more intriguing than it might normally. Is Peterson going to be rusty, having not fought since December 2011? How about Holt, who hasn't fought in 11 months himself? Will home field advantage give Peterson a major edge? Will Lamont look the same as he did in the Khan fight, assuming he's without the testosterone he tested positive for last year and admitted to using?
And then there's the constant question: Which Kendall Holt shows up? Holt, 31, is one of the most unpredictable good fighters in the world. He's had nights where he's given Timothy Bradley all he could handle, and followed that by being utterly steamrolled by mediocre Kaizer Mabuza. Since that debacle, he's won three of four, losing only to Danny Garcia, but his wins have come over opposition weak enough that the wins were predictable. Peterson is among the better fighters Holt has ever faced, a legitimate world-level operator, and in those situations, Holt has failed in the past, though he's certainly proven he can fight.
This is a wild card bout all around, and I can see it going down any number of ways. Given the situation, I'll just pick it as I think it would go down if they were at their best, and I see Peterson winning the fight with workrate and a better all-around game. Holt is a pretty good fighter, and a good puncher, but he's not so thunderous a puncher I can see that being a huge worry for Peterson, who has a very good chin. Holt falls short again facing a top opponent. Peterson by decision.
This is a good matchup, but I have always felt Peterson is a step up from Holt. Holt is a big puncher and has shown superiority over mid-level fighters. However, he lacks consistency and I feel Peterson's work rate and pressure will make him uncomfortable. I think this fight will be close early with Peterson gradually pulling away as the fight wears on. Peterson by decision.
I find it disgusting that Peterson is allowed to box barely 12 months after failing a drugs test. It's hardly going to be a deterrent to other boxers when they know very little will be done about blatant cheating, cheating which becomes dangerous in a sport like boxing. In my opinion using performance enhancing drugs is on the same level as loading gloves, it's just as wrong morally as well being similarly dangerous. The fact he was allowed to keep his IBF title rubs salt into boxing's gaping wound.
The fight itself should be a good one, Holt is a decent fighter who can bang a bit, whereas Peterson has the better chin, is the better technically and has the edge in stamina (if he can perform as well off the testosterone as he did on it, that is). I expect a close affair early on before Peterson finishes the stronger to take a unanimous decision. Peterson by decision.
Final Tally: Lamont Peterson 3, Kendall Holt 0.