During the first three rounds Friday night, Lamont Peterson moved around the ring with the discretion of a fighter who was facing his first opponent in more than a year. Normally a bundle of energy from the opening bell, the District native instead played it cautious, sizing up Kendall Holt rather than coming forward aggressively.
Turns out it was all part of the plan. Despite trailing on the scorecards over the early portion of the fight, the International Boxing Federation junior welterweight champion stuck to the blueprint trainer Barry Hunter had devised, making sure his defense was robust enough to withstand several of his hard-punching challenger’s most lethal blows.
After absorbing significant shots to the body early in the fourth round, Peterson suddenly became the assailant rather than the victim, and Holt had little chance the rest of the way against a technically superior fighter.
“As you know, I like to put pressure on fighters,” Peterson, 29, said shortly after midnight Saturday. “I knew eventually that it would get to that point, but from the tapes that I watched on Kendall, he always seemed to land a good counter hook and his overhand right, kind of like a straight right, you know kind of like an in-between shot, so I just wanted to make sure I was able to guard both of those punches before I just go charging at him.”
When Peterson did start advancing, the announced crowd of 3,121 at the D.C. Armory began chanting his name as he hammered Holt to the body and then upstairs when an opening arose. Peterson (31-1-1, 16 knockouts) overwhelmed Holt in total punches, 167-51, from late in the fourth round to the end of the bout, which came at 1 minute 42 seconds of the eighth.
At that point, Peterson had Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) backed into the ropes for yet another round and was punishing the former World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion so mercilessly that referee Tony Weeks intervened.
“Looking back on the fight, certain things I wanted to do, you can see things in the ring, your mind can see it, but your body doesn’t react, your body doesn’t do it,” said Holt, 31, who revealed he had not eaten for three days leading up to Thursday afternoon’s weigh-in in order to ensure he would not exceed the 140-pound limit. “I don’t remember what round it was, but I remember thinking about it.”
The emphatic result Saturday night was in stark contrast to that of Peterson’s last fight, which also took place in the District 14 months ago. At the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Peterson beat heavily favored Amir Khan by split decision to claim the IBF and World Boxing Association belts Dec. 10, 2011.
Peterson mentioned Khan as a possible opponent for his next fight, which will be his first as a member of Golden Boy Promotions’ stable. Peterson announced several weeks ago he had signed with the prominent promotions team established by Oscar de la Hoya that also represents Khan as well as Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, who both own title belts and would provide enticing matchups.
“I’m all about fighting whoever at this point,” Peterson said. “I just want the best fights we can make. Whoever’s willing to fight me, I’m willing to fight them.”