by Tim Harrison
IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (31-1, 16 KOs) successfully defended his title in front of his hometown fans at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. Former WBO junior welterweight titlist Kendall “Rated-R” Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) was in command early on, but wilted under the constant, precise pressure of Peterson, eventually succumbing to a heavy total-body pounding in the eighth round. In the televised co-feature, Roman Morales (15-0, 8 KOs) stopped former undefeated prospect Jesus Hernandez (10-1-3, 2 KOs) in five rounds.
The predictably pro-Peterson crowd booed loudly when New Jersey native Kendall Holt made his way to the ring, and cheered for their hometown hero. Despite the cold reception, Holt came out looking sharper in the first round. Holt was swinging for the fences early on, while Peterson looked a bit rusty and tight. Peterson lacked head movement and wasn’t working angles to get in close to Holt. Holt started to heat up in the second round. He was able to hit Peterson on the way in and keep him at the end of a long left jab and smart flurries. When Peterson was able to get in range, Holt smartly tied him up.
Holt really stepped on the gas to start the fourth round. He was leading with his right and banging Peterson to the head and body from the outside. Peterson responded well in the middle of the round, however. He crowded Holt and began ripping him to the body with the left hook. Two big right hands hurt and dropped Holt with 20 seconds remaining in the round. Holt made it to his feet at the count of 8, only to eat another big right and stagger as the bell sounded to end the round.
Peterson continued his strong showing into the fifth round as he kept his punches coming from all angles on the inside. He bullied Holt to the ropes and ripped him with a left and right to the body, forcing Holt to hold on for a long break and referee Tony Weeks to call time and issue a stern warning for excessive holding. The fifth round ended with Peterson doing his best Popeye impersonation with a few wind-up right hands while Holt was trapped against the ropes.
Holt came out looking better in the sixth, when Peterson looked to take a short breather. It was all too short-lived, as some more sound body work put Peterson right back into the lead. Peterson was able to once again push Holt to the ropes and rip him with a hard left hook. Another volley of hard, looping punches put Holt down at the 30-second mark of the round. Between rounds, Holt was warned that the fight would be stopped if he kept taking punishment.
The seventh round was more of Holt in retreat and Peterson in dogged pursuit. Holt fought well in spurts, letting his hands go and dancing away before Peterson could trap him along the ropes. Holt made it through the seventh, but wouldn’t last through the next round. A clubbing right hand through Holt’s guard followed by a left hook around his hands forced Holt into his shell along the ropes before Peterson let his hands go. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in and put a stop to the punishment at 1:42 of the eighth round.
Peterson called out Danny Garcia after the fight, making clear his desire to get the WBA title back around his waist, while Kendall Holt respectably offered up no excuses for his loss.
In the televised co-feature, Roman Morales stopped Jesus Hernandez in five somewhat one-sided rounds. Morales put Hernadez down with a long right hand with ten seconds to go in the fourth round. Hernandez was well enough to continue after he beat the count, and made it out of the round to fight the fifth. Morales, who switched between conventional and the southpaw stance several times throughout the fight, landed a sweeping left hook to the liver out of the southpaw stance. The delayed effects forced Hernandez to take a knee for the second knockdown of the fight. Hernandez would not beat the count this time, as he stayed down for the entire count of ten before the referee waived off the contest at the 2:59 mark of the round.
Friday Night Fights returns to the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut next week with Billy Dib’s IBF featherweight title defense against Luis Franco. The undercard will pit Willie Nelson against Michael Medina in a battle of once-beaten prospects. The Boxing Tribune will have complete coverage of the fight throughout the week.