By Keith Idec
Kendall Holt and his promoter, Gary Shaw, know all about what occurred the night Lamont Peterson took the IBF and WBA junior welterweight titles from Amir Khan by winning a controversial split decision in Peterson’s hometown.
They’re still completely confident Holt can win by decision when the Paterson, N.J., native challenges Peterson in their IBF 140-pound title fight Friday night in Peterson’s native Washington, D.C.
“I’m not concerned about the officiating,” Shaw said. “I know the officials. They’re very, very good. They’ve done big fights before. The crowd won’t sway them. Look, I took [Australia’s] Daniel Geale to Germany twice and won decisions. So I don’t really worry about the officials. I wouldn’t approve an official if I thought it was detrimental to my fighter. I think whoever wins in the ring will win the fight.”
Connecticut’s Glenn Feldman, Florida’s Alexander Levin and Florida’s Michael Pernick have been assigned to judge the Peterson-Holt fight at the D.C. Armory (9 p.m. ET; ESPN2). Veteran Nevada referee Tony Weeks will work the 12-round fight as well.
Choosing Weeks was noteworthy because Washington-area referee Joseph Cooper deducted two points from Khan that turned out to be the difference on two scorecards submitted after the Peterson-Khan fight 14 months ago at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Cooper took a point from Khan for pushing Peterson’s head down in the seventh round and deducted another point from the British fighter for pushing Peterson away from him in the 12th round. Peterson won by one point, 113-112, on the scorecards of Pennsylvania’s George Hill and North Carolina’s Valerie Dorsett. The third judge, Puerto Rico’s Nelson Vazquez, scored the fight 115-110 for Khan.
Khan filed protests with the IBF and the WBA, both of which sanctioned that fight, but Peterson’s split-decision win was not overturned. An immediate rematch eventually was scheduled for last May 19 in Las Vegas, but it was canceled May 10 because Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a banned substance.
Despite Peterson’s suspect victory over Khan, Holt (28-5, 16 KOs) won’t approach their fight Friday night as if he must knock out Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) to become a two-time world champion. The former WBO junior welterweight title-holder acknowledged, though, that he must be as aggressive as possible to take Peterson’s championship.
“I try not to think about [hometown decisions], but I don’t want to be stupid and think that stuff doesn’t happen,” said Holt, who suffered a controversial 11th-round technical knockout loss to Ricardo Torres in his first title fight 5½ years ago in Torres’ hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. “People bring up the Amir Khan fight and of course you would think about going into somebody’s backyard.
“People have been telling me it’s harder to win when you’re in his backyard, but with the game plan we’ve put together I don’t think I should have any problem winning a decision. I’m going in there to win every round convincingly. I understand that you have to beat the champion in order to become the champion. So my thing is to go in there and beat the champion.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.