Last Friday night, IBF junior lightweight titlist Lamont Peterson returned to the ring after a 14 month hiatus. He faced former WBO champion Kendall Holt in a contest for relevance in Washington D.C., the bout sold as a contest between Lamont’s ruggedness and Kendall’s power.
The first three rounds saw both guys throw sharp, but sporadic, shots. Kendall dominated, landing crisp right hand crosses on Peterson, who seemed a far cry from the bullying, come-forward brawler that earned the win against Amir Khan. In round four, however, Holt turned things up a notch by firing successive combinations, making his opponent retreat. But Lamont turned things around with about a minute to go in the round, finally firing at will and flooring Kendall with a hard right. The contest became increasingly one-sided as Peterson imposed his youth, speed and power on a fading and tiring Holt. The end came at 1:42 of round 8, when the referee stopped the bout moments after Holt suffered a second knockdown.
The Peterson vs Holt fight was billed as “Redemption”, and it provided Lamont with the chance to assert himself in the ring after his failed drug test last year, which had led to the cancellation of his rematch with Amir Khan. And redemption is precisely what the Washington D.C. native achieved in front of his home crowd, by scoring a solid knockout against a strong puncher in Holt.
Thus, Peterson, who a few weeks ago signed a contract with Golden Boy Promotions, has successfully added his name to the mix in the 140 pound division, which happens to be populated by fellow GBP stablemates. He will now be looking for more lucrative matches against Khan, Lucas Matthysse, or the winner of the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah affair. Should he learn to stay away from banned substances — or at least learn to cope better with testing mechanisms — there is little doubt Peterson can find his way to bigger purses, given his power, speed, and offensive style.
The future for Kendall Holt is less clear, since he seemed to fade quickly once Peterson changed gears, and was unable to make use of his perceived power advantage when he needed it most. It will be hard for the former titlist to recover from such a tough loss.