By Keith Idec
Kendall Holt and Vernon Paris exchanged pleasantries the last time they crossed paths.
It is highly unlikely that’ll happen again Saturday night at Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn. Paris surprised Holt following a cordial encounter nearly 14 months ago at The Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., by repeatedly attacking the former WBO junior welterweight champion on Facebook and Twitter over the past year.
Holt will sit ringside Saturday night, rooting for his friend, Zab Judah, to knock out Paris in their 12-round IBF junior welterweight championship elimination match (NBC Sports Network; 10 p.m. ET).
“It’s a huge step up [for Paris], considering the biggest name on his resume is Tim Coleman,” said Holt, who demolished Coleman during a four-knockdown, second-round technical knockout win Friday night in Cabazon, Calif. “And Tim Coleman, in the early rounds, was giving him fits and even put him down. [Paris is] young, he’s inexperienced and we don’t know what’s going to happen when he gets hit in this fight. He’s been down against a guy who’s not considered to be a puncher at all [Coleman]. So he’s going to have to answer a lot of questions when he gets in there with Zab.”
Detroit’s Paris (26-0, 15 KOs, 3 NC) dropped Coleman (19-3-1, 5 KOs) three times, all with body shots, en route to a seventh-round TKO win Aug. 5 in Santa Ynez, Calif. England’s Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) dominated Judah (41-7, 28 KOs, 2 NC) in the former two-division champion’s last fight, a fifth-round knockout defeat July 23 in Las Vegas.
Holt (28-5, 16 KOs), a Paterson, N.J., native, expects to see a rejuvenated Judah against Paris.
“Vernon Paris has a bunch of knockouts on his record, but seeing him fight live last year in Michigan, I didn’t see power in his punches,” Holt said. “I didn’t see strength or anything in his punches. I was surprised, since he has so many knockouts on his record.
“And I noticed in a lot of his other fights, he likes to come forward and walk guys down. He can’t use that game plan against Zab Judah. If he thinks he can walk Zab down and not respect his power, it’s going to be a short night.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.