Holt vs. Mabuza on February 27th – News
By Jim Dower: Former World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion Kendall Holt (25-3, 13 KO’s) will be facing South African Kaizer Mabuza (22-6-3, 13 KO’s) on February 27th, in an elimination bout at the Ballys Park Place Hotel Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The winner of the fight will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Devon Alexander vs. Juan Urango unification bout which takes place on March 6th.
Holt, 28, has been inactive for the past nine months since losing his WBO light welterweight title in a 12 round decision to Timothy Bradley in April. Holt dropped Bradley twice in the fight, but was ultimately outworked by the younger Bradley. Holt, if he beats Mabuza, will have an excellent chance against the winner of the Alexander-Urango fight. Holt is a lot faster than either of those guys and a harder puncher as well.
The only thing that Holt needs to fix about his offense is his work rate and his tendency to fade late in his fights. Holt was dominating knockout artist Ricardo Torres through nine rounds in their September 2007 fight. However, Holt ran out of gas in the 10th round and took punishment in that round and the 11th, causing the fight to be stopped because he wasn’t fighting hard enough after being dropped by Torres.
Holt was able to avenge his defeat to Torres by stopping him in the 1st round a year later in July 2008, in a fight in which Holt was dropped in the opening seconds by Torres. Holt would quickly reverse the situation by knocking Torres out with what appeared to be a hard accidental head butt that knocked Torres unconscious. Holt then followed that with a 12 round decision win over Demetrius Hopkins in December 2008. Holt then lost his title in his next fight after that against Bradley.
Holt might take another fight before taking on the winner of the Alexander-Urango fight, Dan Rafael of ESPN reports. In this case, Holt could possibly face light welterweight contender Lamont Peterson on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto vs. Yuri Foreman light middleweight title bout. Peterson would be a tough fighter for Holt because of his power and excellent technical skills.
However, Holt would likely win that fight without too many problems unless he runs out of gas. Peterson recently lost a one-sided 12 round decision to Bradley in December. Peterson would be a good warm up for a fight against the Alexander vs. Urango winner. Peterson is good, but his lack of hand speed would be a big problem for him against a blazing fast puncher like Holt.
I would like to see Holt using more of his slugging ability against Mabuza and/or Peterson. Holt hits a lot harder than his record suggests and if he sits down more on his shots and throws more punches, I think he can be one of the hardest punchers in the light welterweight division. The thing with Holt is that he needs to work on his stamina. But it may not matter if Holt starts knocking out more of his opponents earlier in his fights.