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Ricardo Torres vs. Kendall Holt II on Saturday

Kendall Holt Ricardo TorresBy Manuel Perez: WBO light welterweight champion Ricardo Torres (32-1, 28 KOs) will be facing Kendall Holt (23-2, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round rematch on Saturday night at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their previous fight, an 11th round TKO win for Torres, was marred due to controversy surrounding complaints made by Holt after the bout, saying that the fight was stopped far too early by referee Genaro Rodriguez, that Holt was canned in the head by a full can of beer in the 6th round immediately after he had knocked Torres down with a big left hand, the canvas was slippery with water in the 11th round making it hard for Holt to step around the ring, and that Holt was grabbed around the ankles will standing with his back to the ropes in the 11th round.

All of it seems, at least to me, a lot of excuses from a sour loser. Despite his assertions, I’ve never seen one instance of Holt being tagged in the head by a can of beer in the 6th round, and I’ve seen the fight many times. I agree with him that the canvas was wet in the 11th after fans threw both beer and water in the ring, but Torres had to navigate his way around the ring just as Holt did, and he didn’t have too hard of a time doing it.

In other words, both fighters had to deal with the same circumstance, and there was no advantage that Torres had over Holt in that respect, other than he hadn’t been dropped with a big left hand like Holt. And, as for the referee stopping the fight too soon, that’s not quite right either. After Torres dropped Holt with a left hand, Holt got up and ran around the ring, trying to avoid Torres. Of course, it wasn’t long before Torres caught up to him, and began to batter him with huge shots to the head. After taking some especially big hooks to the head, causing Holt to bend forward at the waist as if he were defenseless and about to drop again, the referee then made the move to stop the fight.

It was only after the referee stopped the fight, a fraction of a second later, that Holt finally threw a punch. It was his first punch thrown since being knocked down, but it was too late, the fight had been stopped. If you want to accept Holt’s excuse that the fight would have been stopped, that he should have been able to continue, and the canvas had been too wet for him to fight, then I still have grave doubts he’d have been able to win even with the fight being allowed to continue.

At that point, Holt would have been faced with having to win the final round of the fight, the 12th, in order to come back and perhaps make the fight a draw. That would have been a real problem for him, since he had looked badly fatigued starting at the end of the 10th, which coincided with the time that he was hurt by a huge right hand from Torres near the end of the round. Torres was coming on in the fight, having the better energy, and fighting with a far greater urgency than Holt, who just looked drained. Up until the knockdown in the 11th round, Holt was mostly moving, hanging on the ropes covering up, and trying to clearly run out the time in the fight.

He was no longer actively trying to mix it up with Torres, and he wasn’t using much of his boxing skills either. That, is seems, ran down the drain at the moment Torres nailed him with a right hand in the 10th. I’m not sure if it was the punch that took the energy out of Holt, or if he just ran out of gas at the same time he was being nailed by Torres. At any rate, he had nothing left to give in the last portion of the fight, and was generally trying to survive in a stall tactic. It was ugly to watch, to be sure, but if you’re familiar with any of Holt’s fights, it’s pretty much par for the course for him.

A case in point, Holt’s last fight with Ben Tackie, a 10-round majority decision win for Holt in February, in which Holt looked brilliant in the early rounds of the fight, hitting Tackie with blinding combinations. However, in the last half of the fight, Holt looked tired, timid and mostly stood with his back resting against the ropes, covering up and throwing infrequent flurries to try and win the rounds. It seemed like lazy boxing to me, a fighter not working hard in the second half of the fight. Holt looked better against Torres, fighting well, piling up a small lead going into the 10th round, but he ran out of gas just like he did in the Tackie fight.

From there, it was Holt just trying to survive. I wish I could say that things will change, that Holt will suddenly develop some stamina, and maybe a little courage to exchange more often, but I just don’t see. Events in the past have a way of coming back around to the future, making things almost identical to the past.

For this reason, I see Holt looking good early on like before, building up a slight lead, then tiring out and getting stopped in a brutal fashion. Unlike his fight with Tackie, Holt won’t be able to create a foxhole for himself by lying against the ropes. If he does this, and I’m almost certain that he will, Torres will tear him apart on the ropes, and blast him out with a series of big hooks to the head.

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